June/July Live Magazine 2018

Our latest Live magazine, check out interviews with creators of games such as Moss, reviews on the latest games and movies + a special trading card tournaments feature at Gametraders!

Our latest Live magazine, check out interviews with creators of games such as Moss, reviews on the latest games and movies + a special trading card tournaments feature at Gametraders!


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JUNE/JULY ISSUE <strong>2018</strong><br />

IVE<br />




WIN<br />

A double<br />

pass for<br />

The Equalizer 2!<br />

pg. 28<br />

+ Deadpool 2<br />

pg 22<br />

E3 Opinions - Banjo Kazooie & Harry Potter 20th - Kirby Star Allies<br />

AND<br />

God of War<br />

pg 134

WIN FREE<br />


Check out page 28 for details on how you can go in the drawn to win! (Australia only)

From the Editor<br />

Hello and welcome to the <strong>June</strong> edition of Gametraders <strong>Live</strong>!<br />

Before you jump in and start reading all our exciting articles, I have<br />

a quick bit of news for you. Our editor Rob Jenkins has moved on<br />

from Gametraders and will no longer be working on this magazine.<br />

We wanted to take a moment here to thank him for all his hard work<br />

and to wish him all the best in his future endeavours.<br />

I am incredibly honoured to be able to take over as editor and<br />

designer for this magazine and I would like to reassure you all that<br />

the magazine will continue to bring you all the content you love.<br />

With that being said, go ahead and read on, we have a very exciting<br />

edition for you, with a special feature on Trading Card Tournaments<br />

at Gametraders!<br />

Emily Langford<br />

Emily Langford,<br />


What’s inside<br />



Pg. 10<br />



Pg. 18 & 24<br />

“Detective<br />

Pikachu oozes<br />

charm and<br />

intrigue as the<br />

narrative peels<br />

back layer<br />

after layer of<br />

the Pokèmon<br />

world.”<br />

pg. 44


EDITOR & DESIGNER: Emily Langford<br />

WRITERS:<br />

Shaun Stoddard, Shaun’s Spinions, God of War<br />

Norse Mythology<br />

Scott Sowter, Entertainment review and opinion<br />

Benn Banasik, Gametraders Macarthur Square<br />



pg. 120<br />

Paul Monopoli, Dragon Ball R & R<br />

Anny Sims, Cosplay & Contact Lenses<br />

Stephen LaGioia, Jackson Newsome, Ben Dye, Evan<br />

Norris, Brandon J. Wysocki, Taneli Palola & Rex<br />

Hindrichs, VGChartz<br />

8-37 MOVIES<br />


40-145 GAMES<br />

E3: 10 INTERESTING GAMES, pg 64<br />

GOD OF<br />

WAR<br />

pg. 134<br />

E3: THE MAJOR LETDOWNS, pg 76<br />




DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, pg 98<br />

MAGIC: THE GATHERING, pg 104<br />



pg. 126<br />

148 DRAGON BALL R&R<br />




(Recomended Retail Price)<br />

Deadpool makes his mark on adult gaming in Deadpool vs the<br />

World, a hilarious party game for mature audiences. Featuring<br />

100 custom illustrations of Deadpool in very strange and unsightly<br />

situations, players face off against their friends by filling in<br />

the blanks on Caption cards to provide the most outrageous<br />

explanations of the Merc with a Mouth’s predicaments. The player<br />

who best describes Deadpool’s compromising situations wins the<br />



Beanies, for the colder weather!<br />


Get it all at Gametraders! Order in-store.

MOVIE<br />








S<br />




REVIEW<br />


Going solo:<br />

starwars vs s<br />

In 1977 the world was<br />

introduced to Han Solo.<br />

Harrison Ford brought this<br />

character to life in the first<br />

Star Wars fIlm. He reprised<br />

the character in the<br />

sequels The Empire Strikes<br />

Back and Return of the<br />

Jedi. In 2015 with the return<br />

of the Star Wars franchise<br />

with The Force Awakens<br />

we were all treated to the<br />

return of Han. The world<br />

went nuts when this film<br />

came out, it grossed over<br />

two billion dollars at the box<br />

office and set the stage for<br />

what would be the return<br />

of the great space opera.<br />

Soon it was announced that<br />

Han Solo would be getting<br />

his own spin off film. Solo A<br />

Star Wars Story hit cinemas<br />

in May <strong>2018</strong> and well...<br />

Things got interesting.<br />

The Force Awakens was<br />

met with critical acclaim<br />

and love from the fans,<br />

as stated it made a<br />

boatload of money and<br />

was generally loved. A year<br />

later Lucasfilm released<br />

Rogue One A Star Wars<br />

Story, detailing the struggle<br />

between the Empire and<br />

the Rebels as the Rebels<br />

attempt to steal the Death<br />

Star Plans leading right into<br />

the original Star Wars film.<br />

While Rogue One didn’t<br />

make quite as much money<br />

as The Force Awakens, just<br />

over a billion dollar gross is<br />

nothing to sneeze at. It also<br />

received critical acclaim,<br />

and made just over a billion<br />

dollars at the box office. It<br />

seemed like the Star Wars<br />

global domination was on a<br />

roll and may not stop.

tarwars fans<br />


And then... Star Wars The Last Jedi hit theatres in<br />

December 2017. It was the eighth instalment in<br />

the main series and followed on directly from The<br />

Force Awakens. Anticipation was at fever pitch,<br />

speculation reigned with The Force Awakens<br />

leaving many questions that fans desperately<br />

required answers to. I myself was one of them. I<br />

was there at a midnight screening of the film, my<br />

head full of expectations and my own little theories<br />

waiting to see the epic next instalment of my<br />

favourite franchise. I left the cinema at three in the<br />

morning not really knowing what to think or what<br />

to say. The Last Jedi took every fan expectation<br />

and savagely slapped them aside. This movie was<br />

playing by no ones rules. On a second viewing I<br />

responded more favourably. I actually liked the<br />

way the movie toyed with my expectations. It took<br />

a darker approach. It shattered our conceptions<br />

of the Force, what is and what would be. The<br />

movie is by no means perfect featuring some poor<br />

attempts at humour and one wildly dumb subplot<br />

involving a casino, but, whatever, it’s Star Wars.<br />

There were far worse sins in the prequel trilogy.<br />

But then it started. The waves of vicious fan<br />

backlash. This movie made people mad! Despite<br />

acclaim from the critics fans turned against it.<br />

There were calls to have Kathleen Kennedy the<br />

head of Lucasfilm fired. Rian Johnson the director<br />

received death threats. Some of the actors in<br />

the film removed all traces of their social media<br />

profiles after being threatened and bullied by fans.<br />

It just became an ugly poisonous mess. Fans can<br />

be utterly horrible. Behaviour on display that was<br />

truly revolting. It was only a movie...

This year Solo hit theatres. Despite a<br />

rough start with a change of directors, Solo<br />

seemed to be on track to be quite the hit.<br />

It looked fun, it saw more of our favourite<br />

characters coming back. The Millennium<br />

Falcon in all it’s glory. Lucasfilm seemed to<br />

have another money maker in the bag. Then<br />

the movie came out. Solo is by no means<br />

a bad movie. It lacked some of the punch<br />

of Rogue One but it was a fun little outing.<br />

However the film has flopped massively.<br />

The film was estimated to need to gross at<br />

least five hundred million dollars to break<br />

even with budget and marketing costs. As<br />

it stands the film has only grossed three<br />

hundred million. No where near the billion<br />

dollar club the rest of the new Star Wars<br />

films hang out in. So why did Solo fail?

Some blame the troubled<br />

development of the film, some<br />

“Star Wars fatigue” being<br />

released less than six months<br />

after The Last Jedi. But I feel,<br />

it’s failure is that is was simply<br />

released after The Last Jedi. The<br />

toxic pool of Star Wars fandom<br />

has really turned against the<br />

franchise. The sheer hatred of<br />

The Last Jedi has seemingly<br />

smashed the Star Wars franchise.<br />

There are rumours of all spinoff<br />

films being cancelled for the<br />

meantime. Rumours Kathleen<br />

Kennedy may step down in the<br />

not too distant future. It has all<br />

become kind of crazy. I wish I<br />

could say I am shocked... But<br />

I’m not. The reality is, The Last<br />

Jedi may have killed Star Wars.<br />

It’s a shame. I appreciate that<br />

Lucasfilm and director Rian<br />

Jonson tried their best to give<br />

us the unexpected. They tried to<br />

bring us a new and daring vision<br />

for the Star Wars universe and it<br />

was seemingly rejected. Now with<br />

Solo Lucasfilm has attempted to<br />

make the safest Star Wars film<br />

possible and it has also been<br />

rejected. The franchise feels like<br />

it is lost in space. With no clear<br />

direction. It’s a damned if they do,<br />

damned if they don’t situation.<br />

I, as a Star Wars fan just want more<br />

Star Wars. With the future of the<br />

franchise clouded by the dark side<br />

of the force it is an uncertain what<br />

will come next. Just don’t be a jerk<br />

about it. It’s ok not to like a movie,<br />

but death threats? I don’t like salt<br />

and vinegar chips but I don’t send<br />

letter bombs to Smith’s Chips. Just<br />

be sensible and responsible. Love<br />

your fandom. But don’t be a jerk.<br />




POP! VINYLS!<br />


All standard size pops. Ask staff for details.



With a crash and a boom Avengers<br />

Infinity has finally burst onto our screens.<br />

Marvel’s ten years of hard work and world<br />

building has all come to the fore in their<br />

most ambitious film yet. But can Infinity<br />

War possibly live up to the hype? We<br />

have waited for Thanos to crash the party<br />

since he showed up at the end of the first<br />

Avengers. Well the wait is over.<br />

Infinity War pits the Avengers and the<br />

Guardians of the Galaxy against Thanos,<br />

the baddest bad guy that ever bad... ed.<br />

Thanos is seeking the Infinity Stones.<br />

Powerful artefacts that grant the owner<br />

near omnipotence. Thanos seeks to<br />

balance the universe, aka, kill half of all life<br />

in the universe. This he claims will set things<br />

right.<br />

From the get go Infinity War wastes no time<br />

in showing us how break neck it’s pace will<br />

be. Opening where Thor Ragnarok ended<br />

we are given a full taste of Thanos’s power<br />

when he beats the Hulk like a drum. From<br />

there we know this dude means business<br />

and the adventure just powers forward.<br />

The film is relentless in it’s pace. We meet<br />

all our favourite characters as we launch<br />

from place to place in scene to scene. The<br />

film simply never slows down. Which is a<br />

good thing given how much content there<br />

is covered in this war. It really does feel like<br />

a war! There is fighting on many fronts and<br />

sacrifices will be made. Needless to say not<br />

every Avenger will be making it out of this<br />

one alive.<br />

Infinity War shines in it’s writing and<br />

execution. The Russo Brothers who were<br />

behind the amazing Captain America<br />

Winter Soldier (perhaps still the best film<br />

in the MCU) bring their signature flavour to<br />

the film. Amazing wit and solid direction.<br />

These guys proved they know how to give<br />

us delightful comedy one minute and heart<br />

wrenching pain the next. The film moves<br />

fairly seamlessly under their guidance and<br />

they execute one of the finest juggling acts<br />

in cinema history.

Y WAR<br />


The films most amazing performance comes<br />

form Josh Brolin who, with the power of motion<br />

capture gives us one of the most interesting<br />

villains in the MCU in Thanos. Thanos comes<br />

across as a fairly complex character and you<br />

get the feeling that even if he knew that killing<br />

half the life in the universe meant he would<br />

die, he would do it anyway because the greater<br />

good is more important. He is a character<br />

that absolutely believes in his goal. That is<br />

an amazing thing, especially in the MCU that<br />

has sadly suffered with pretty average villains<br />

since Loki (Vulture aside). Thanos stands<br />

tall as perhaps the best villain the MCU has<br />

put to screen, and let’s face it, he had to be!<br />

Ten years to get another lunatic who wants<br />

to just blow everything up would have been a<br />

disappointment.<br />

The rest of the cast does a solid job! I won’t list<br />

names because, well this review would be six<br />

pages long! They all bring their A-game and for<br />

many this really does feel like the end of the<br />

road, or at least the end is just in sight.<br />

Without spoiling anything, there is a part two<br />

to this juggxrnaught of a film that is due out in<br />

May 2019. Fans around the world continue to<br />

speculate and await anxiously the fate of the<br />

the universe.<br />

Avengers Infinity War is the ultimate in dollar<br />

coaster thrill rides. It is a blast, great fun,<br />

however it’s pace makes it a tad exhausting.<br />

By Scott Sowter<br />

4/ 5


Deadpool 2 is an<br />

incredibly funny,<br />

sometimes moving, sometimes<br />

inappropriate, but always<br />

action-packed sequel and a<br />

worthy successor to the first<br />

film. The actors who return<br />

do brilliant jobs and I have to<br />

give props to Stefan Kapici<br />

as Colossus for bringing even<br />

more of that character to<br />

the role and giving him a lot<br />

of nuance and development<br />

in this movie. Newcomers to<br />

the series Zazie Beetz as<br />

Domino and Julian Dennison as<br />

Russell Collins were incredible,<br />

with one of the absolute<br />

highlights of the film being the<br />

introductory sequence to<br />

Domino’s luck powers.<br />

There were a lot of<br />

cameos of comic<br />

characters that I never<br />

thought I’d see done in movies<br />

or done right. The X-Force<br />

sequence featuring Shatterstar,<br />

one of the weirdest characters<br />

from Marvel comics, was a<br />

definite highlight. Each one was<br />

an enjoyable little Easter egg.

The humour in this film though.<br />

There were jokes in here that<br />

were the deepest of cuts to the<br />

comic book Deadpool. Including<br />

one which I was the only person in<br />

my screening to get. It was about<br />

drawing feet (Google Rob Liefeld<br />

and bask in the 90s comic art).<br />

Never thought there’d be a joke<br />

about that in a movie I saw. It was<br />

utterly hilarious.<br />

Overall, I’d give Deadpool 2 a 4<br />

out of 5. It had some pacing issues<br />

and there were some characters<br />

who could’ve got more screen time<br />

but all in all it was a very funny<br />

movie which had some well-done<br />

emotional beats. I enjoyed it a lot<br />

and am looking forward to seeing<br />

whether they’ll release a<br />

director’s cut and the<br />

inevitable sequel.<br />

By<br />

Shaun Stoddard


Avengers Infinity War was the culmination of 18<br />

films over 10 years of world building and hinting<br />

at a much greater, much stronger force that<br />

would be beyond the skill of Earth’s Mightiest<br />

Heroes to defend against. It is an exceptional film,<br />

if not in execution than in its place in the annals<br />

of film development.<br />

This is something that hasn’t been attempted<br />

before. Sure, there are movie series which<br />

are longer or more movies featuring certain<br />

characters (The Bond series, The Land Before<br />

Time series, the multitude of movies featuring<br />

Dracula or Frankenstein), but no effort has tried<br />

to tie in as many movies in the same universe as<br />

the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And it succeeds<br />

in this, but it also is constrained by it.<br />

There are about 40 individual characters in<br />

this movie, and it actually does an admirable job<br />

introducing them all, even if some of the<br />

more important characters in other movies are<br />

regulated to cameos here. Everyone does a<br />

pretty damn good job all told, with Tom Holland<br />

being an absolute standout. Josh Brolin is<br />

incredible as Thanos as well, even if I didn’t find<br />

his reasons for actions to be all that compelling.<br />

It’s also a big change from his motivation<br />

throughout his appearances in the comics, where<br />

he’s either trying to get the attention of the<br />

personification of Death or trying to wipe out his<br />

own children (A storyline featured in the comic<br />

book event Infinity).<br />

The feeling that this movie is the first part of<br />

the whole story never really goes away while<br />

watching it, and as much as it is its own movie I<br />

cannot wait to see just how exactly they continue<br />

this story.<br />

A whole year isn’t too long to wait right?<br />

By Shaun Stoddard


Get it at Gametraders!


If you have a problem and nowhere else to turn,<br />

Robert McCall will help – he is The Equalizer. McCall has been aiding the beaten,<br />

exploited, and oppressed by serving an unflinching justice. But when McCall’s<br />

dangerous past cuts especially close to home, he will need all of his skills to<br />

right a wrong.<br />

Denzel Washington returns to one of his signature roles in the first sequel of his<br />

career. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer, The Magnificent<br />

Seven) and also starring Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, with Bill Pullman and<br />

Melissa Leo.<br />

In cinemas <strong>July</strong> 19.<br />


Thanks to Sony and Gametraders you could win a double pass to see<br />

The Equalizer 2 - in cinemas <strong>July</strong> 19th.<br />

All you have to do is go to the Gametraders Facebook page and like<br />

the competition post, tag who you’re going to take and comment why<br />

you want to see The Equalizer 2!<br />

Competition ends on the 15th <strong>July</strong> <strong>2018</strong>.

©<strong>2018</strong> Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




Lord Voldemort had seven horcrux’s: Tom Riddle’s Diary, Marvolo<br />

Gaunts Ring, Helga Hufflepuffs Cupt, Rowena Ravenclaws<br />

Diadem, Nagini the Snake and Harry Potter himself.<br />

Dumbledore is an Old English word for Bumblebee, Rowling<br />

chose this because “one of his passions is music and I imagined<br />

him walking around humming to himself”<br />

The Knight Bus Drivers; Ernie and Stanley were named after<br />

Rowlings Grandfathers.<br />

Herminones patronus is an Otter and Ron’s is a Jack Russell<br />

Terrier. Dogs known for chasing Otters.<br />

The Dementors were physical manifestations of Rowlings<br />

experience with depression in her 20’s.<br />

In Prisoner of Azkaban, Proffesor Trelawney refuses to sit at a<br />

table with 12 other characters because the first person to get<br />

up at a table of 13 would die. In Order of the Phoenix, Sirius<br />

Black is the first to stand from a table of 13.

Fred and George Weasley were fittingly born on April Fools Day.<br />

Daniel Radcliff went through 160 pairs of glasses over the<br />

course of the films.<br />

In 2014 a complete set of Harry Potter first edition books sold<br />

for over $20,000 auction.<br />

Bloomsbury gave Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows code<br />

names such as; Edinburgh Potmakers and The Life and Times of<br />

Clara Rose Lovett: An Epic Novel Covering Many Generations, to<br />

stop it from leaking early.<br />

Both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling share a birthday of <strong>July</strong> 31st.<br />

The Hogwarts school motto, “Draco Dormiens Nunquam<br />

Titillandus” is latin for “Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon.”<br />

The Harry Potter books have been translated into more than 70<br />

languages.<br />

Deloros Umbridge, prehaps the worst villan in Harry Potter paid<br />

for her crimes by being imprisioned at Azkaban.<br />




Ask staff for details.




Ask staff for details.

TER<br />

!<br />


WANT<br />

TO BE<br />

A PART<br />

OF THIS<br />


EMAIL US AT live@gametraders.com.au


have an idea for something awesome that should be in<br />

live magazine?<br />

Be it a review, an opinion piece, some pop culture<br />

photography or ART WORK;<br />

SEND IT TO: live@gametraders.com.au<br />

for a chance to be one of two featured in september’s magazine!<br />

CONDITIONS: All submissions must be original work and sent in<br />

by 17th August, midnight. Writing pieces must be a minimum of 500<br />

words (Unless appropriate to be shorter, i.e accompanied by drawings<br />

or photography), photography and drawings must be high resolution.<br />

All content sent to us remains your property and will not be used or shared by us in any way<br />

without your permission. When showcasing your content we will provide full credit to you.<br />

EMAIL Editor Emily Langford at live@gametraders.com.au.

gameS<br />


CARD<br />







HOSS (SURGE)<br />



20th ANNIVERSARY<br />



BOARD<br />

GAMES!<br />



REVIEW by Jackson Newsome<br />

etective<br />

ikachu<br />

For a franchise so focused on evolution,<br />

the Pokemon series rarely deviates from its<br />

established formula. Even in the anime, Ash<br />

doesn’t age, and Pikachu never evolves into<br />

Raichu. Detective Pikachu turns this formula on its<br />

head and boasts the franchise’s most compelling<br />

narrative yet, demonstrating that this old Pokemon<br />

can still learn new tricks. The setup is simple.<br />

Tim Goodman decides to investigate his father’s<br />

mysterious disappearance and finds himself aided<br />

by Detective Pikachu – his father’s partner at the<br />

Baker Detective Agency in Ryme City. However,<br />

this isn’t any ordinary Pikachu. Tim learns that he<br />

can understand Pikachu’s speech just as easily as<br />

Pikachu understands his own.

Generally, Tim follows instructions from<br />

Pikachu to progress through the story.<br />

These instructions range from soliciting<br />

testimony to searching environments<br />

for clues, including settings in a theme<br />

park, laboratory, and cave among others.<br />

Players use the bottom screen to interact<br />

with Pikachu and present evidence in the<br />

correct sequence. It should be noted that<br />

the developers set their target on a younger<br />

demographic than the mainline meaning<br />

there are no game over screens and unlimited<br />

attempts for solving cases (if at first you don’t<br />

succeed). Additionally, there’s a fair amount<br />

of backtracking which, while arguably genre<br />

appropriate, doesn’t always avoid feeling like filler<br />

content. Thankfully, brief action sequences aid the<br />

narrative’s pacing. I only wished these sequences<br />

amounted to something more than single button<br />

quick time events. More interactive sequences<br />

would have added considerable variety to the<br />

proceedings. It is difficult to review Detective<br />

Pikachu without emphasizing its high-quality<br />

presentation. Detective Pikachu is continually<br />

impressive and punches above its weight on<br />

aging hardware. The textures appear sharp on<br />

the small screen, which brings scenes to life.<br />

Unfortunately, the developers’ ambitions prove too<br />

much for the base Nintendo 3DS console. Minor<br />

frame rate issues appear early on and become<br />

particularly problematic in busier sections of the<br />

final chapters. Overall, I am uncertain if the larger,<br />

more populated environments were worth the<br />

performance trade-off. It’s a shame it couldn’t shine<br />

on stronger hardware where it might have reached<br />

a more purchase-motivated audience, especially<br />

considering the game’s conservative use of 3DSspecific<br />

features and the popularity of the Nintendo<br />


I was pleased with the extensive voice acting which, while not<br />

always stellar, served its purpose. Interestingly, and unless<br />

I’m mistaken, Detective Pikachu features the most voicework<br />

of any Nintendo title to-date. The writing is solid, with nine<br />

episodic chapters that inch the overarching plot to its finale.<br />

I finished the game with an appreciation for the care with<br />

which the writing team crafted the narrative. That is not to say it’s perfect; there are a few silly plot<br />

points, such as a late-game reveal that Pikachu is familiar with the inner workings of machinery just<br />

as such a skill would be useful. How convenient.<br />

Beyond its strong presentation and narrative, Detective Pikachu oozes charm and intrigue as the<br />

narrative peels back layer after layer of the Pokemon world. I couldn’t resist smiling after<br />

Tim meets a rather bold and unsympathetic<br />

Murkrow and again after reading Azumarill’s<br />

naive assumption that humans could breathe<br />

underwater. Furthermore, I was pleased to see<br />

Pokemon representatives from each generation,<br />

but it is the detective himself who steals the<br />

show with his love for coffee, sense of humor,<br />

and unwavering dedication to the mystery at<br />

hand. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the<br />

game’s world building bests both the mainline<br />

games and the anime series.

Detective Pikachu paints a world in which<br />

Pokemon are anything but superfluous; they<br />

are essential. You see Pokemon contribute<br />

to the city’s operations and, in other cases,<br />

independently living their lives. It is refreshing<br />

and stands in contrast to other titles which only<br />

halfheartedly cast Pokemon as anything more<br />

than chess pieces for combat. The result is the<br />

most believable take on Pokemon yet. In short,<br />

Game Freak should take notes for the mainline<br />

series. Fortunately for fans, the wait may not be<br />

too long for a follow-up based on not-so-subtle<br />

hints at the game’s conclusion and the upcoming<br />

film of the same name.<br />

from Nintendo’s risk-averse start to <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

Although it may not steal headlines, the evidence<br />

points to one conclusion — Detective Pikachu is<br />

a must play for Pokemon fans everywhere. For<br />

everyone else, it’s a good point of entry to the<br />

world of Pokemon, if only you can tolerate its ease<br />

and rookie imperfections.<br />

By Jackson Newmon, VGChartz<br />

These strengths make for a strong package but<br />

one which suffers from sporadic inconsistencies<br />

in both challenge and pacing, along with an<br />

uneven framerate near the game’s end. Even so,<br />

Detective Pikachu is the most exciting offering<br />


REVIEW by Stephan LaGioia<br />



Our favorite gluttonous puff ball is back again, folks,<br />

and this time he’s graced the Nintendo Switch to<br />

further flesh out its library, joining the likes of Mario<br />

and Zelda. It seems like just yesterday we swung<br />

and whipped our way through the charming yarnladen<br />

environments of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and made<br />

a nostalgic return-trip to Dreamland on Wii, but here<br />

we are again. Question is, does the latest entry in<br />

the series, Kirby Star Allies, measure up to those<br />

titles? Is yet another Kirby platformer warranted<br />

when we seem to have been showered with them of<br />

late? Well, even though I had my doubts going into<br />

my playthrough, I’m pleased to say that the answer<br />

to both of those questions is yes, at least in some<br />

respects.<br />

It’s true the game doesn’t quite reach a level of<br />

innovation that Epic Yarn achieved, nor does it<br />

rely that heavily on a straight-forward, old school<br />

platforming formula that Return to Dreamland pulled<br />

off so well. Rather, it settles on a nice sweet spot<br />

between the two and excels on the multiplayer<br />

front to boot. While Allies borders on being a bit<br />

too simplistic and contains a pretty brief campaign,<br />

most Kirby fans will know that this is basically par for<br />

the course anyway.<br />

Some of these can feel like tacked-on afterthoughts,<br />

though they do inject a bit of depth, difficulty, and<br />

variance to the somewhat straightforward gameplay.<br />

There’s also the likely potential of free DLC on<br />

the way, if the already released “update 2.0” with<br />

new characters is any indication. At the end of the<br />

day, Allies proves to be a charming and enjoyable<br />

platforming experience decorated with some<br />

deliciously vibrant and colorful 2.5D graphics, stellar<br />

co-op gameplay, and the amusing gimmicks of<br />

combining elemental abilities and recruiting baddies.<br />

There at least exists plenty of additional content for<br />

completionists sprinkled in, in the form of a sort of<br />

hard mode and time trial hybrid, a few mini-games,<br />

and a battle arena where you square off against<br />

some entertaining bosses.

Even though Allies leans<br />

heavily on these new<br />

concepts, it certainly still<br />

borrows inspiration from the<br />

retro Kirby days in both style<br />

and substance, taking on the<br />

feeling of a celebration of the<br />

charming pink platforming<br />

hero in video game form. It<br />

draws upon a plethora of old<br />

characters long forgotten, with<br />

which you can fight alongside<br />

and even play as yourself in<br />

co-op or as part of the “Guest Star” mode.<br />

You don’t just get the likes of the usual<br />

suspects, Meta Knight and Waddle Dee,<br />

either; Nintendo has also tossed in some<br />

more obscure heroes from Kirby games of<br />

yorn. There’s Rick the hamster, and Gooey,<br />

both of whom first appeared in Dreamland<br />

2 back in the ancient times of the Gameboy.<br />

There’s even the amusing jester boss of Kirby<br />

Superstar, known as Marx, who coaxed some<br />

yuks out of me and my sister as she hovered<br />

across Dreamland, firing off electrified beach<br />

balls at helpless enemies. Each character<br />

comes with their own set of moves and<br />

dynamics, which keeps things feeling fresh,<br />

exciting, and - at least in the case of Marx -<br />

humorous as well.<br />

This isn’t to say AI companions are completely boring or<br />

useless, though the experience does feel a degree more<br />

cumbersome and dull than with actual players. It was<br />

clear during my journey through the several dozen stages<br />

and four worlds that the game both encourages, and is<br />

enhanced by, multiplayer co-op. Recruiting foes is both a<br />

helpful and satisfying way to gain an advantage, which is<br />

easily pulled-off by tossing a “friend heart” at an enemy.<br />

As the title implies, there is a heavy emphasis<br />

on the presence of Allies, which can be<br />

utilized by having additional players fight<br />

alongside you from the outset or jumping<br />

seamlessly into a stage. You can also opt<br />

to play solo by utilizing the less exciting,<br />

haphazard AI which follow you around, and<br />

only occasionally don’t execute the actions<br />

you want them to.

co-op or as part of the “Guest Star” mode. You<br />

don’t just get the likes of the usual suspects, Meta<br />

Knight and Waddle Dee, either; Nintendo has also<br />

tossed in some more obscure heroes from Kirby<br />

games of yorn. There’s Rick the hamster, and<br />

Gooey, both of whom first appeared in Dreamland 2<br />

back in the ancient times of the Gameboy. There’s<br />

even the amusing jester boss of Kirby Superstar,<br />

known as Marx, who coaxed some yuks out of me<br />

and my sister as she hovered across Dreamland,<br />

firing off electrified beach balls at helpless enemies.<br />

Each character comes with their own set of<br />

moves and dynamics, which keeps things feeling<br />

fresh, exciting, and - at least in the case of Marx -<br />

humorous as well.<br />

As the title implies, there is a heavy emphasis on<br />

the presence of Allies, which can be utilized by<br />

having additional players fight alongside you from<br />

the outset or jumping seamlessly into a stage.<br />

You can also opt to play solo by utilizing the less<br />

exciting, haphazard AI which follow you around,<br />

and only occasionally don’t execute the actions<br />

you want them to. This isn’t to say AI companions<br />

are completely boring or useless, though the<br />

experience does feel a degree more cumbersome<br />

and dull than with actual players. It was clear during<br />

my journey through the several dozen stages and<br />

four worlds that the game both encourages, and<br />

is enhanced by, multiplayer co-op. Recruiting foes<br />

is both a helpful and satisfying way to gain an<br />

advantage, which is easily pulled-off by tossing a<br />

“friend heart” at an enemy.<br />

This fun mechanic ties into the narrative - what little<br />

exists anyway - as apparently Kirby has obtained<br />

the ability to toss his brainwashing hearts by<br />

coming into contact with a “jamba heart.” These<br />

mysterious shards have been summoned by an<br />

evil wizard named Hyness, who has manifested<br />

them through a failed experiment, scattering them<br />

across Dreamland and beyond. And so, Kirby and<br />

his friends venture across a colorful and majestic<br />

assortment of environments - which escalate nicely<br />

in their epic nature as you progress - to investigate<br />

and gather these shards, and defeat Hyness.

Of course, the old mechanic of sucking up various<br />

enemies to obtain their abilities still makes a<br />

return. Though this time it tends to take a back<br />

seat to this game’s gimmick, which essentially<br />

revolves around using the aforementioned friend<br />

hearts to recruit wandering baddies to join your<br />

ranks, of which you can grab up to 3 others. As<br />

you march your way across the linear stages, you’ll<br />

find that you can often quickly breeze through<br />

most of the game with relative ease by utilizing<br />

this function. Even with the sup-par AI, the sheer<br />

firepower and versatility of having several different<br />

friends wielding different abilities usually makes for<br />

an experience that’s simplistic almost to a fault.<br />

You might, for instance, need to transform into<br />

an ice block, at which point a friend will wack<br />

you across a platform to push a button, or ignite<br />

an otherwise unreachable fuse with the flaming<br />

yo-yo friend ability. This messing with different<br />

friend abilities can be a bit burdensome at times,<br />

especially when you don’t possess the right<br />

combination of powers. Thankfully these sorts of<br />

momentum-slowing puzzles are at least kept at a<br />

minimum. The game tends to emphasize mindless<br />

action mostly by way of taking out gaggles of<br />

baddies in your wake, which is made all the more<br />

enjoyable by playing around with the wide range of<br />

friend combos.<br />

Generally speaking, attacks can be enhanced<br />

by combining various moves and elements.<br />

You can fire electrified blasts of water, wield a<br />

flaming sword, or ground-pound enemies with<br />

a paint-soaked rock. Occasional puzzles are<br />

sprinkled about which contain stars and puzzle<br />

piece collectables, and often require friend ability<br />

combos to pull off as well. In keeping with the<br />

easy-going vibe throughout, these usually took<br />

me mere seconds to figure out, even when they<br />

required a combination of abilities to trigger.<br />

Overall, Kirby Star Allies keeps in the spirit of what<br />

makes Kirby games so appealing, with some sharp<br />

and instantly enjoyable platforming gameplay.<br />

It does feel as if it plays things a little safe, even<br />

with the bombardment of various heroes and<br />

friend combos. With the emphasis on buddying<br />

up, arena fighting that feels a bit like Smash Bros.<br />

lite, and competitive mini games, it certainly leans<br />

in the direction of a party game rather than a solo<br />

platformer. Thus, it doesn’t quite reach that same<br />

potential for enjoyment when playing alone. Still,<br />

the game is mostly entertaining and accessible<br />

enough that flying solo doesn’t hinder the<br />

gameplay. As a whole, Kirby Star Allies shines as a<br />

standout multiplayer platformer for the Switch, and<br />

one that should satisfy the itch of Kirby fans.<br />

By Stephan LaGioia, VGChartz<br />



Get it at Gametraders!

20th<br />

It’s Banjo-Kazooie’s 20th birthday! (<strong>June</strong><br />

29th)<br />

To celebrate this milestone birthday we’ve<br />

put together a list of fun facts and trivia<br />

you may not know about the first Banjo<br />

Kazooie<br />

So read on and see if you knew it all<br />

already or learnt something new!


20th<br />


Banjo-Kazooie evolved from Project Dream<br />

which was a cancelled adventure game for<br />

the Super Nintendo<br />

Banjo and Kazooie were both named after<br />

musical instruments. Banjo obviously named<br />

after the banjo and Kazooie named after the<br />

Kazoo<br />

There was supposed to be an extended<br />

ending where before Gruntilda died she<br />

cast a spell on Banjo turning him into a frog!<br />

In order to win the game players had to play<br />

as Tooty (Banjo’s sister) to find items to turn<br />

Banjo back.

Anniversary<br />

Mumbo Jumbo’s talking voice is inspired by a<br />

English football chant; “Come and have a go if<br />

you think you’re hard enough.”<br />

The characters almost sang in the intro scene<br />

alongside playing their instruments but it was<br />

unfortunately cut before it could become real-<br />

Mumbo Jumbo’s iconic phrase “Oomenacka”<br />

came from Greg Kirkhope continuously saying<br />

“Ooh me knackers”<br />

The Jinjos name came from a red headed<br />

employees nickname “Ginge” - The first Jinjo<br />

created was also fittingly orange<br />



After more than four years since its initial release on<br />

PC and two years since it’s release on PlayStation<br />

4 and Xbox One, The Banner Saga, an epic Norse<br />

adventure, has been released on the Nintendo<br />

Switch. This comes just in time for the release of the<br />

third and final game of the trilogy in <strong>July</strong>.<br />

In my opinion, this was a brilliant decision, the<br />

Switch is the perfect platform to play this game on,<br />

especially when playing handheld. It looked excellent<br />

and played just as well. Obviously, it’s creators must<br />

agree as each game in the trilogy is set to be on the<br />

switch.<br />

The Banner Saga’s creators are a development<br />

company called Stoic which was founded in 2011<br />

by three ex-Bioware developers. It was their “dream<br />

game” and was funded through Kickstarter.<br />

Being new to the game it admittedly was a little<br />

difficult to pick up at first. As from the moment you<br />

turn it on you are dropped into the sprawling world<br />

and given choices that could have a huge impact<br />

down the line. Maybe. It’s impossible to know what<br />

your choices might affect and that for me was the<br />

best part and the worst. It was nerve-wracking<br />

having to make all these decisions with no idea what<br />

I was doing. Should I let all survivors into my group?<br />

Should I charge or create formations in battle? Did<br />

that one choice I made about how to get inside<br />

the gate change my whole game?! Or was it that<br />

decision to side with the two brothers, Hogun and<br />

Mogun? There’s no way to know. Unless I play it<br />

again, which honestly, I definitely will.

This learning curve made it difficult to appreciate<br />

the game at first but once I got over it, I was blown<br />

away. The art style was beautiful and captivating,<br />

the music provided the perfect ambiance. I found<br />

that it didn’t take too long before I started to care<br />

about the main characters, Hakon and Rook and<br />

I wanted them to be good leaders which meant I<br />

needed to make good decision.<br />

You begin with a prologue and the character Ubin,<br />

this is a tutorial in all but name and allows you<br />

to get to know the game without making gamealtering<br />

decisions. Kind of. Your decisions with Ubin<br />

can affect the relationships and choices of another<br />

character Eirik later in the game but that as far as<br />

I know is the only impact. The tutorial to me wasn’t<br />

clear enough and should have been a bit more indepth.<br />

Despite going over combat it took me quite<br />

a few chapters before I really understood what I<br />

was doing. Also knowing when to rest/use up your<br />

resources and promote your heroes can be tricky<br />

as you never know how long it will be until you get<br />

an opportunity to do it again.<br />

After the tutorial, you are sent across the map to<br />

Rook and his daughter Alette where you will face<br />

your first Dredge. Dredge are an ancient race with<br />

yellow eyes, supposedly made of stone, that have<br />

recently started to reappear in the world. They are<br />

the main antagonists of the game and you’ll face<br />

their armies in battle many times.<br />

something I suggest you actually take time to think<br />

about, I didn’t at first but once I did I noticed the<br />

battles became far more interesting because I had<br />

a strategy, however minimal it was. That being said<br />

battle could become quite tedious at times as it<br />

really is just doing the same thing over and over for<br />

different reasons. Which is why it was so important<br />

that the characters and their story were done well<br />

and thankfully they were.<br />

Once you’ve finished the second chapter with Rook<br />

and Alette you move cross the map again to play<br />

as Hakon, who you meet when playing as Ubin. He<br />

is the leader of the caravan and a strong varl, which<br />

is a horned, long living race. Moving from town to<br />

town, he and his army fight dredge after dredge in<br />

the pursuit of refuge. Which may give you an idea<br />

of how bleak the world and situation can feel.<br />

Despite the bleakness, overall the story is<br />

enthralling, and the battle gameplay is fun and<br />

well thought out. There were shocking losses and<br />

frustrating moments, especially at first but it’s a fun<br />

game and I’d highly recommend picking it up and<br />

giving it a play.<br />

By EJ Tales<br />

8<br />

Battle in the game has a turn-based combat<br />

system not dissimilar to X-COM: Enemy Unknown.<br />

It takes planning and real thought to come out<br />

victorious. The use of special abilities, powered by<br />

willpower, makes it all the more interesting and I’d<br />

highly recommend not forgetting about the horn<br />

which provides extra willpower like I kept doing.<br />

Also picking what order your heroes are in is



Ask staff for details.


OUT 26 OCTOBER!<br />

Ask staff for details.

E3 <strong>2018</strong>, BY Taneli Palola<br />





The annual hype machine that is E3<br />

has once again come and gone, and<br />

as always we saw a huge number of<br />

massive upcoming titles shown off at<br />

the various press conferences and<br />

during the event itself, some to rapturous<br />

ovation and others to polite applause.<br />

Yet, with all the attention many of these<br />

announcements get, for every game that<br />

gets the spotlight shone on it during one of<br />

the big press events, there are countless<br />

other titles that run the risk of getting lost<br />

amidst the sea of games competing for your<br />

attention.<br />

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at<br />

some of these smaller games that you will<br />

likely have missed in all the excitement.<br />

Naturally, there’s no guarantee that all of<br />

these games are going to be good, but they<br />

all have something interesting going for<br />

them, be it a well designed visual style or<br />

unique gameplay elements which at the very<br />

least deserve to be acknowledged. Here are<br />

ten interesting games from E3 <strong>2018</strong> you<br />

might have missed.


Innocence<br />

Release date: 2019<br />

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4<br />

The only returning game from last<br />

year’s list, A Plague Tale: Innocence<br />

is conceptually quite possibly the<br />

most interesting one on it for me<br />

personally. An adventure game set in<br />

14th century France ravaged by the<br />

Black Death has massive amounts<br />

of potential to be something truly<br />

special. If the narrative of the two<br />

siblings fighting for survival and the<br />

stealth-based gameplay live up to<br />

the images shown in the trailer, this<br />

could be one of the most intriguing<br />

new titles on the horizon.

Indivisible<br />

Release date: 2019<br />

Platforms: PC, Mac Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch<br />

Indivisible had me interested from the moment I first saw it in motion. The gorgeous art style and<br />

the numerous beautiful locations shown in the trailer quickly pushed it very high on my anticipated<br />

games list, but it was the gameplay which looks to combine elements from side-scrolling action<br />

platformers and turn-based RPGs that sealed the deal for me.<br />

Indivisible is being developed by Lab Zero Games, the same team that created the excellent<br />

Skullgirls fighting game. If you need one more reason to keep your eyes on this one, the music in<br />

the game is being composed by Hiroki Kikuta, the man behind the music in Secret of Mana.

Outer Wilds<br />

Release date: <strong>2018</strong><br />

Platforms: PC, Mac Xbox One<br />

In Outer Wilds the player takes control of<br />

an astronaut who finds himself stranded<br />

in a solar system which is stuck in an<br />

endless time loop that always ends<br />

with the sun going supernova, killing<br />

the player and sending them back to<br />

the beginning once again. However, the<br />

player can use the things they learn on<br />

these attempts to slowly uncover the<br />

world’s secrets and alter the outcome<br />

of subsequent playthroughs. It’s an<br />

interesting central mechanic that could<br />

lend itself to a lot of interesting situations<br />

within the game. Hopefully this one turns<br />

out good when it comes out.

Greedfall<br />

Release date: 2019<br />

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4<br />

This is another game that is on the list based mostly on the potential of its basic concept. Greedfall is<br />

set in a newly discovered fictional island paradise during a colonial era ravaged by an incurable plague.<br />

The island, a home to magic and the supernatural, serves as the one remaining hope for finding such<br />

a cure. However, as the settlers begin to arrive on this new land, conflict between the new arrivals and<br />

the native population is inevitable.<br />

While the basic premise behind Greedfall is very interesting, there is one thing that somewhat tempers<br />

my expectations. The game is being developed by Spiders, a team whose previous games have never<br />

really managed to rise above mediocrity. They certainly have plenty of experience in creating action<br />

RPGs, but that has yet to translate to anything genuinely good. Regardless, I’m still cautiously optimistic<br />

about Greedfall, hence the reason why it’s still on this list despite my reservations.

satisfactory<br />

Release date: TBA<br />

Platforms: PC<br />

Satisfactory is an open world factory building sim where the player takes on the role of an<br />

engineer tasked with constructing one such factory in an alien planet as part of Project<br />

Assembly. The player has to not only create a working factory, but also collect the resources<br />

and explore the surrounding wildlife while doing so. In addition the game has official support for<br />

co-op with up to 4 players at once playing in the same world.<br />

The part that piqued my interest was the co-op. The possibility of creating a huge working<br />

machine together with other people in a fully explorable world is a hugely intriguing prospect for<br />

me. The fact that the game also features elements such as combat against wildlife and various<br />

different vehicles the player can use to travel the world is just a nice bonus.

Concrete Genie<br />

Release date: <strong>2018</strong><br />

Platforms: PlayStation 4<br />

One of the more unique games on this<br />

list and at E3 was Pixelopus’ Concrete<br />

Genie, in which the player takes on<br />

the role of a bullied teenager, Ash,<br />

who has the ability to create living<br />

sceneries and creatures through<br />

his paintings. As he does so he also<br />

discovers that his paintings can purify<br />

the polluted walls of his hometown.<br />

Besides the interesting concept<br />

Concrete Genie also looks beautiful,<br />

which certainly helps in standing out<br />

from the crowd.

Astroneer<br />

Release date: TBA<br />

Platforms: PC, Xbox One<br />

Although it has already been released via Early Access, Astroneer is still in development and<br />

was one of the more interesting, less heralded titles shown at this year’s E3. The game tasks<br />

the player with colonizing countless randomly generated planets and gathering resources to<br />

build custom bases either in single or multiplayer. The somewhat minimalistic visual style that<br />

uses strong colours with textureless surfaces is a nice touch as well. Astroneer is one of the<br />

games to watch and possibly buy right away, though personally I’m perfectly fine waiting until<br />

its proper release.

Labyrinth of Refrain:<br />

Coven of Dusk<br />

Release date: September 18th, <strong>2018</strong><br />

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch<br />

Labyrinth of refrain: Coven of Dusk is a<br />

new title coming from Nippon Ichi Software,<br />

this one providing an interesting take on<br />

the classic dungeon crawler-genre. It was<br />

already released in Japan back in 2016, but<br />

is only now coming to the west. Dungeon<br />

crawlers are a rare commodity these days,<br />

and any fan of games like Dungeon Master,<br />

Eye of the Beholder, and the more recent<br />

Legend of Grimrock titles (like me) might<br />

just find something new and interesting to<br />

play. The anime inspired visual style certainly<br />

makes it different from most other games in<br />

the genre.

Desert Child<br />

Release date: <strong>2018</strong><br />

Platforms: PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch<br />

Desert Bike, as described on the game’s official website, is a racing RPG set in a dusty world where<br />

your only friends are a vintage hoverbike and a packet of instant noodles. If nothing else, Desert<br />

Bike certainly gets some points for originality. In the game the player takes the role of a gifted racer<br />

who must make money through any means necessary, including but not limited to: delivering drugs,<br />

throwing races, and hunting bounties, all for the sake of improving your hoverbike and ultimately<br />

moving up in the world.<br />

The visual style reminds me slightly of the game Another World (known as Out of this World in<br />

North America), which is a refreshingly different source of inspiration from the usual 8-bit or 16-bit<br />

graphical styles a lot of indie games go for.

11-11: Memories Retold<br />

Release date: November 9th <strong>2018</strong><br />

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One<br />

11-11: Memories Retold is a story-driven adventure game that tells two stories, one of a Canadian<br />

photographer who leaves for the Western Front in Europe on November 11, 1916, and another of a<br />

German technician who on the same day hears that his son has gone missing in action. Their paths<br />

through the theatre of war will eventually cross and lead to the most important decision of their lives.<br />

One of the main reasons 11-11: Memories Retold caught my attention - well, besides the absolutely<br />

gorgeous visual style - was the fact that Aardman Animations is involved in its development. For<br />

those who don’t know, Aardman is best known for the Wallace & Gromit series of short films, as well<br />

as a number of feature length animations. If the story can match the quality of the game’s visuals and<br />

provide us with an intriguing narrative suitable for its WWI setting we might have something exceptional<br />

on our hands.<br />

Written by<br />

Taneli Palola

YOUR E3 <strong>2018</strong>; SAY BEN DYE<br />

The following is a list of major setbacks<br />

or disappointment, in my<br />

opinion, from this year’s E3. When<br />

I say that, I’m not necessarily referring<br />

to the worst-looking games<br />

shown (or the most anticipated<br />

ones not shown, for that matter).<br />

I’m talking about bad direction, or<br />

just simply a lack of attention to<br />

detail in making something as good<br />

as it can and should be. There were<br />

plenty of other games or company<br />

decisions during E3 that were just<br />

plain bad, but they weren’t surprising<br />

at all, so I’ve omitted them from<br />

this piece.<br />

Opinion:<br />

The<br />

Major<br />

Letdowns<br />

of<br />

E3 <strong>2018</strong>

Continued Lukewarm<br />

Third Party<br />

Commitment to Switch<br />

This E3 we witnessed yet more dedication from third<br />

parties to Nintendo’s Switch, but often in a slightly<br />

baffling way. Instead of, for example, announcing<br />

Fallout 76 for Switch alongside Xbox One, PC, and<br />

PlayStation 4, Bethesda instead announced Fallout<br />

Shelter. The latter is actually quite acclaimed, so it’s<br />

a welcome addition to the Switch library, but sans a<br />

Fallout 76 announcement at the same time it ended<br />

up feeling like a bit of a snub.<br />

I don’t want to unfairly single out Bethesda,<br />

though. Compared to most western third parties<br />

Bethesda has done a much better job of supporting<br />

Nintendo devices since the launch of the Switch,<br />

with Bethesda Game Studios’ Skyrim being ported<br />

over and selling well, and the publishing arm of the<br />

company handling publishing duties for Doom and<br />

Wolfenstein on Switch.

But given how well Switch’s<br />

Skyrim has performed, just<br />

imagine what a good dayone<br />

port of one Bethesda’s<br />

modern, high budget games<br />

would sell. It’s not just<br />

Bethesda either, of course;<br />

it’s easy to imagine the likes<br />

of Kingdom Hearts III and<br />

Dead or Alive 6 performing<br />

on a par with the Xbox One<br />

versions if they were released<br />

on Switch too.<br />

Instead, all too often it feels<br />

like publishers are simply<br />

saying “hey, let’s throw a<br />

bone to Nintendo fans, and<br />

if they don’t buy the one<br />

title we give them then<br />

we’ll have our justification<br />

for not giving them any red<br />


EA Announcing a<br />

Mobile Command &<br />

Conquer Game<br />

sort of audience that attends<br />

and watches these events),<br />

but even the newest single<br />

player Star Wars adventure<br />

was rushed through like it<br />

was chopped liver (no trailer,<br />

no box art, not even a piece<br />

of concept art, just a vague<br />

description of when it will be).<br />

EA then dedicated, what? Five,<br />

ten minutes at least to a mobile<br />

game.<br />

As someone who has been a fan<br />

of the series since I was a child, it’s<br />

been sad to watch such a highly<br />

acclaimed and treasured series as<br />

Command & Conquer slowly trend<br />

downhill into irrelevance. The series’<br />

amazing games (Red Alert 2/Yuri’s<br />

Revenge, Tiberian Sun, Generals)<br />

have long since faded into memory<br />

and have been replaced by the likes<br />

of Tiberium Wars, Tiberian Twilight,<br />

and Red Alert 3, all of which were<br />

quite horrible in their own individual<br />

ways. Then there’s Generals’ sequel,<br />

which was turned into a free to play<br />

game. And that leads us to Command<br />

& Conquer Rivals, the newlyannounced<br />

free-to-play mobile title.<br />

It’s not just that it’s a mobile spin-off<br />

that has so enraged fans, it’s that no<br />

new flagship entry was announced<br />

alongside it, nor does one look likely to<br />

be announced in the near future. As if to<br />

rub salt in the wound EA ‘showed’ off a<br />

full-screen version of the game during its<br />

conference.<br />

Is this what E3 has become to EA? It’s bad<br />

enough a large chunk of EA’s conference<br />

each year is taken up by annual sports<br />

release (which, while popular, make for<br />

unappealing reveals, especially for the<br />

Perhaps I’ve set my<br />

expectations too high, or<br />

I’m being unfair to mobile<br />

gaming, but I don’t feel<br />

mobile games warrant being<br />

discussed in great detail on<br />

the biggest gaming stage<br />

of the year, especially when<br />

said game is more likely to<br />

piss fans off than please<br />

them. The E3 stage should<br />

be reserved for blockbuster<br />

announcements,gameplay<br />

premiers, and trailers.

No Halo Collection<br />

Games for PC<br />

Halo Infinite is coming to Windows 10. This is both<br />

unexpected and fantastic news for PC gamers. But<br />

if Microsoft is going to release its newest Halo title<br />

on both PC and Xbox, then why not also release<br />

remastered version of existing Halo releases on<br />

PC as well, be it in the form of The Master Chief<br />

Collection or separate releases? Halo 5 Guardians<br />

and Reach could then also have made the transition<br />

to PC.<br />

Many PC gamers won’t just want to enjoy the future<br />

of Halo, but also the past and present, so this feels<br />

like a missed opportunity from Microsoft.

The Square Enix<br />

Conference<br />

You would think, after not having one of these<br />

in years, that Square Enix would come out all<br />

guns blazing upon its metaphorical return to the<br />

conference fray. Well, you’d be wrong. There was<br />

a lot of bad in Square Enix’s conference, both in<br />

terms of content and presentation.<br />

But the single worst part? As I alluded to above -<br />

Kingdom Hearts III not coming to the Switch. Not<br />

to make this a port begging article, but why is it<br />

not coming to Switch? It’s surely not because of<br />

the graphics, because it’s a title that’s clearly more<br />

focused on art style than graphical prowess (Breath<br />

of the Wild and Mario Odyssey arguably look<br />

technically better). Maybe Square Enix doesn’t think<br />

a kid-friendly game starring dozens of incredibly<br />

popular, family-friendly characters will sell all that<br />

well on a Nintendo device? Darn it Nintendo, you<br />

became too “hardcore!”.

No Animal Crossing<br />

Switch<br />

Seriously, Nintendo, what the heck?! New Leaf came<br />

out in 2012/2013 (Japan/rest of the world). We will<br />

have had two fully-fledged Fallout games in the<br />

same time span as one mainline Animal Crossing<br />

game. Heck, at this rate, Elder Scrolls VI may be out<br />

before Animal Crossing Switch.<br />

Don’t tell me demand isn’t there either. I hear more<br />

clamor for this game than any other Nintendo title;<br />

I heard it for the Wii U and now the same thing is<br />

happening for the Switch. So why not develop one?<br />

I guarantee it will sell a whole lot better than Metroid<br />

Prime 4, Star Fox, Bayonetta, Pikmin, and a bunch<br />

of other new entries in established franchise. The<br />

aforementioned New Leaf sold well over 10 million<br />

copies, and even the lacklustre spin-off title Animal<br />

Crossing: Happy Home Designer shifted over 3<br />

million.<br />

I understand Nintendo not announcing it until it’s<br />

ready to be shown off. What I don’t understand is<br />

Nintendo’s priority when it comes to which games<br />

it makes and when it’s going to make them. By all<br />

means Nintendo should continue to make games<br />

that many of us want but which don’t sell very well,<br />

but not at the expense of a series that literally prints<br />

money but which hasn’t shown up on a Nintendo<br />

home console in almost 10 years now. If you don’t<br />

milk the cow, it’s going to be bad news for it further<br />

down the road! MILK THE COW!

Honorable Mentions<br />

EA’s Origin Access Premier. Many people have already voiced<br />

their concerns about this, although some are excited by the idea of having a cheaper<br />

digital-only solution to their gaming habits. Time will tell if it is a good or bad thing<br />

for the industry; there’s a real possibility that it represents the thin end of a very<br />

unappealing wedge. We shall have to wait and see on this one.<br />

Frankie Ward’s over-reliance on sexual innuendo when hosting the<br />

PC Gaming Show.<br />

If Super Smash Bros. Ultimate doesn’t have some kind of<br />

single player story mode, I’ll riot. Who’s with me?<br />

games.<br />

Sony’s odd, poorly paced press conference filled with hardly any new<br />

new games.<br />

Nintendo’s fast-paced, very focused conference filled with hardly any<br />

Written by<br />

Ben Dye


INTERVIEW WITH Co-Founder of<br />

Danny Bull

Polyarc Games<br />

a [MOSS]<br />

I had the opportunity to<br />

interview Danny Bulla, cofounder<br />

of Polyarc - the studio<br />

behind <strong>2018</strong>’s Moss. I was<br />

able to learn more of Danny’s<br />

insights regarding the game’s<br />

development and VR, among<br />

other topics. I hope you enjoy<br />

reading the transcript as much<br />

as I enjoyed the interview!

“<br />

...it could have been an<br />

alien or a small creature<br />

JN: Would you like to introduce<br />

yourself and your role at Polyarc?<br />

DB: I’m Danny Bulla, and I’m the<br />

design director at Polyarc.<br />

JN: Can you talk a little about the<br />

inspiration for the setting of Moss,<br />

as well as for Quill herself as the<br />

main character?<br />

DB: Yeah! When we started in VR,<br />

we started everything not with<br />

a specific game idea in mind but<br />

with the idea that we wanted to<br />

develop a game for the medium<br />

itself. A lot of our inspiration came<br />

from us asking the question:<br />

“What would be good for VR?”<br />

The experience is just much more<br />

heightened in this medium rather<br />

than other media which led us<br />

away from other things. We were<br />

really excited about physical<br />

interaction and the way you could<br />

reach into the world and grab<br />

things. We also knew that comfort<br />

was a big issue for VR and wanted<br />

to pick something that was more<br />

familiar and not as intense, but we<br />

wanted to use intensity where we<br />

needed it at certain points in the<br />

game. We could bring it out, but<br />

one of our goals was comfort.<br />

The setting came from that,<br />

in terms of where we thought<br />

this world would take place. We<br />

wanted a character that you could<br />

reach out and interact with and<br />

manipulate the world. That limited<br />

us to a couple different things.<br />

We could be a giant, and you<br />

could manipulate smaller sized<br />

creatures or humans, relative to<br />

you, but we didn’t think that would<br />

feel very tactile and physical. So,<br />

we went for a small character, and<br />

that left us with a few options.<br />

We could be a mouse, a rodent<br />

which we ended up on, but it could<br />

also be a toy, or it could have been<br />

an alien or small creature.<br />

It was four of us at the time, and<br />

we all felt good about rodents.<br />

There’s a lot of history with<br />

anthropomorphic characters. We<br />

have a lot of that in our history.<br />

That’s how we ended up with Quill.<br />

The setting is where we started<br />

asking, “Where did she grow up?”,<br />

“Where is she from?”, “What’s in<br />

this world?” That was just part of<br />

the world building that happened<br />

over time, but we didn’t know<br />

exactly what the world of Moss<br />

would look like as we began the<br />

project.<br />

JN: You actually answered a<br />

couple of my follow-up questions<br />

already! I was going to ask why<br />

you chose a fantasy setting, given<br />

that some of the team’s AAA<br />

development experiences have<br />

been quite different (e.g., sciencefiction).<br />

DB: I think also, as creatives, you<br />

can grow by working on things<br />

that are different than what you<br />

have been doing or where you’ve<br />

been. For us, it was an opportunity<br />

to grab some other things that<br />

inspired us and apply it to the<br />

game. We didn’t want to keep<br />

doing the same thing over and<br />

over, especially when we had this<br />

opportunity with the new medium.<br />

JN: That makes a lot of sense. This<br />

next question is just to satisfy my<br />

own curiosity. Did you study actual<br />

rodents for the game?<br />

DB: We did measure a lot of<br />

different things like bricks and<br />

leaves because we found that it<br />

was so important that the scale of<br />

things in the virtual world matched<br />

what we expected in the physical<br />

world. We didn’t bring a mouse in<br />

here to measure it, but we looked<br />

through Google Images and at<br />

various artists to determine which<br />

rodents we’d have in our world. It<br />

usually boiled down to, “Oh, that’s<br />

cute. We should use that one.”<br />

[laughs] Really, it was just matching<br />

the tone of the personalities of<br />

the characters. It all happened<br />

organically.<br />

JN: In trying to avoid spoilers,<br />

one thing that really struck me in<br />

my playthrough of Moss was the<br />

tonal shift toward the end. Was<br />

there any concern that it may<br />

be too frightening for those who<br />

are inexperienced with VR or for<br />

younger audiences?<br />

DB: No, I don’t think we had any<br />

concern. In fact, I think it was our<br />

intent. The market isn’t very large<br />

right now. We wanted to make<br />

sure we made something that as<br />

many people as possible could<br />

enjoy. Right now, in VR, that means<br />

there’s a whole wide range. We’ve<br />

gotten emails from 60-yearolds,<br />

and we know there are 13<br />

and 14-years-olds playing. It’s a<br />

good question because VR really<br />

can spike the intensity in a lot of<br />

different things. It can bring out<br />

different kinds of feelings. It can<br />

be sad, it can be fear, it can be joy.<br />

We knew that the world would<br />

come off as something for<br />

younger audiences, but we wanted<br />

the narrative, the depth of the<br />

story, and the characters to really<br />

grab us as an older audience, so<br />

that’s the balance we get to do as<br />

developers, right?<br />

We can try to do things that we<br />

think will appeal to most of the<br />

audience but also do things that are<br />

creatively satisfying. We wanted<br />

to test your relationship with Quill<br />

and solidify that bond. Sometimes<br />

you need sad moments to do that,<br />

and sometimes you need exciting<br />

moments to do that. Sometimes<br />

you just need to be walking<br />

through the forest. It’s really the<br />

cadence among those that give<br />

the texture to the narrative. I<br />

would say that, towards the end,<br />

the tonal shift was important. It’s<br />

our way of saying that this world is<br />

not just one tone. Everything isn’t<br />

all happy. There’s some dark stuff<br />

going on, and we’re just scratching<br />

the surface.

JN: I thought it was a perfect<br />

way to cap off the game. It really<br />

helped build momentum. On a<br />

different note, and in being a new<br />

studio, what was it like for the<br />

team to see Moss debut to nearuniversal<br />

praise?<br />

DB: It’s hard when you put so much<br />

energy into something for such a<br />

consistent amount of time to have<br />

enough perspective to really take<br />

everything in and appreciate the<br />

kind words. Something we said<br />

around the studio is that there are<br />

a lot of people we haven’t talked<br />

to, or met, who have been touched<br />

by this world. That was really<br />

fulfilling for all of us to know we<br />

were making an impact because<br />

I think that’s why a lot of us here<br />

are making games.<br />

I just skimmed through your review<br />

again, because I read it early on,<br />

and you said some really cool<br />

things toward the end about it that<br />

I appreciate. Thanks for writing<br />

that!<br />

JN: Absolutely. Thank you! Due<br />

to the nature of VGChartz, I feel<br />

I have to ask the next question.<br />

Can you comment at all on the<br />

game’s commercial response?<br />

DB: It hit exactly what we were<br />

aiming to do with Moss. As you<br />

know with VR, the VR market is<br />

nowhere near as large as the<br />

console market, right? So, if you<br />

look at it like that, you can create<br />

different expectations. For us, as<br />

a new IP and first release for our<br />

studio, what was important for<br />

us was people’s investment in<br />

the world. As the market grows,<br />

we’ll grow with it. To see people<br />

establish that relationship with<br />

Quill and the world itself… that was<br />

success to us – that people know<br />

about Polyarc and people know<br />

about Quill. We are proud of that.<br />

JN: I was a day-one PlayStation<br />

VR adopter. I thought about<br />

holding out, but I couldn’t resist<br />

and felt I got my money’s worth at<br />

launch. What would you say to any<br />

gamers who are reluctant to dive<br />

into VR? Why buy a headset now?<br />

DB: I’ve spent a year-and-a-half<br />

or two years in VR development.<br />

I just put my pen down and said,<br />

“I can’t convince people verbally.<br />

They’ll just have to try it.” I think<br />

when it comes to skeptics there<br />

are so many ways to try PSVR and<br />

other virtual reality headsets… tour<br />

buses going around, etc. The best<br />

thing people can do is research<br />

the content they’re interested in.<br />

Make sure it was made for VR, not<br />

just a port. Then, try to find a place<br />

to try it out. Once you get inside<br />

VR and experience good content<br />

that makes you feel something<br />

that traditional gaming can’t do at<br />

this point that’s when you really<br />

understand the importance of VR,<br />

but I don’t think anyone will verbally<br />

convince people. My suggestion is<br />

for people to try it, and don’t feel<br />

pressure until you find that there’s<br />

the right content for you.<br />

JN: It’s interesting that you<br />

mentioned the opportunities to<br />

demo VR because I first tried it<br />

at a Best Buy the summer before<br />

PlayStation VR launched. I was<br />

hooked after one try.<br />

DB: Yeah, it’s what it takes. It’s<br />

something new that we really<br />

haven’t had access to. With new<br />

technology, it’ll take time until<br />

everyone’s in it – if that ever<br />

happens. I think it’s important for<br />

everyone to try it and to think of<br />

what cool things we can do with it<br />

that we couldn’t otherwise. That’s<br />

where you find gold.<br />

JN: Speaking of other VR headsets,<br />

can you speak to why Moss<br />

was designed for PlayStation VR<br />

instead of the Oculus Rift or the<br />

HTC Vive, for example?<br />

DB: For us, as an independent<br />

studio, we had to choose one<br />

platform upfront that we really<br />

wanted to focus our energy on.<br />

That turned out to be the PSVR.<br />

Sony saw an early prototype of<br />

Moss and was very supportive<br />

pretty much since the moment we<br />

showed it to them. We said, “Okay.<br />

We’re going to work with these<br />

partners. They’re going to help<br />

us.” They were so nice to put us<br />

on the E3 stage, which is a great<br />

exposure for us. That was where<br />

we focused our development<br />

energies. We want as many people<br />

as possible with VR headsets to<br />

experience Moss. That’s our goal.<br />

Interviewer’s Note: Polyarc revealed<br />

during this conversation that Moss<br />

would launch for Oculus Rift and<br />

HTC Vive today. It’s available now!

JN: I’m currently making my way<br />

through God of War. Which games<br />

are people playing around the<br />

studio?<br />

DB: The topic of conversation in<br />

our studio is God of War, but I tell<br />

everyone to stop talking because<br />

I’m really far behind [laughs]. A lot<br />

of us in the office play Hearthstone,<br />

but a lot of the team plays different<br />

games. When God of War came out<br />

it made a big splash, and it’s cool to<br />

see the different reactions to such<br />

a different kind of game than what<br />

we’re working on. That’s the best<br />

time to be playing these games –<br />

when it’s something that’s different.<br />

People around the office are<br />

obviously playing Fortnite as well.<br />

I don’t know... I kind of feel bad that<br />

I don’t have more games to throw<br />

at you right now [laughs]. Actually,<br />

what I just picked up and played<br />

was Stardew Valley and Darkest<br />

Dungeon on the Switch. Just kind<br />

of checking out those and they<br />

are really different from what we’re<br />

doing. It’s cool to just try different<br />

games. We keep a close eye on<br />

VR. Oh! That’s the other one. Beat<br />

Saber. A lot of people are checking<br />

that out as well.<br />

JN: Any final thoughts you would like<br />

to share with fans of Moss, Quill, or<br />

your work in general?<br />

DB: The big thing is to follow our<br />

Twitter and social media pages.<br />

That’s our channel to everyone, and<br />

it’s the best way for people to ask us<br />

questions and get more information.<br />

If we are fortunate enough to tell the<br />

next chapter in Quill’s adventure, we<br />

have what we want to tell. We’re just<br />

looking forward to the opportunity<br />

to tell that story. There are some<br />

really cool things that will be fun to<br />

experience with Quill but with VR,<br />

too. As we learn more about VR,<br />

we are learning new ways to take<br />

advantage of the medium. For fans<br />

of VR and fans of Moss and Quill, we<br />

have a lot more we want to do. Keep<br />

poking us, and keep talking to us.<br />

We’ll let you know what we know<br />

when we know it!<br />

JN: Thank you so much! Have a<br />

great E3!<br />

DB: Thanks for chatting!<br />

Interview conducted<br />

by Jackson Newsome,<br />


YOUR INTERView SAY by evan norris<br />

INTERVIEW WITH the creators of surge<br />

DECK 13<br />

In this age of social media and online<br />

communities, where almost every video<br />

game is previewed, dissected, and<br />

analyzed to death before it hits store<br />

shelves, it’s difficult to be surprised. Yet<br />

The Surge, flying as it did under the radar<br />

in 2017, managed to surprise me — and<br />

many others, I imagine — in the happiest<br />

of ways. I spent hours and hours in the<br />

grim dystopia developer Deck 13 had<br />

wrought, slicing and dicing my way through<br />

cybernetic horrors. In a year considered<br />

by some the greatest in the history of the<br />

gaming industry, The Surge shone brightly,<br />

and yet many never saw the light.<br />

When Deck 13 announced plans for DLC, I<br />

was happily surprised for the second time.<br />

It signaled sales were strong and demand<br />

for the studio’s unique take on the Dark<br />

Souls formula was healthy. A Walk in the<br />

Park turned out to be just as refreshing<br />

and addictive as the base game, and,<br />

honestly, I was sad when it was over.<br />

Then, just last month, Deck 13 made yet<br />

another surprise announcement: The<br />

Surge 2 was on its way. In the wake of<br />

that news, I reached out to the Frankfurtbased<br />

studio to ask about the future of<br />

The Surge, and the game’s place among<br />

Souls-likes and so-called AA games in<br />

general. Michael Hoss, PR and Marketing<br />

Manager for Deck 13, was kind enough to<br />


EN: When The Surge DLC was<br />

announced, I think a lot of fans were<br />

pleasantly surprised, in part because<br />

it was unclear if the base game had<br />

lived up to expectations, sales wise.<br />

Can you share sales figures for The<br />

Surge, in terms of physical and digital<br />

units? If not, can you talk about the<br />

business decisions that led to DLC<br />

and eventually a full sequel?<br />

MH: While I cannot share the exact<br />

numbers, I can confirm that The<br />

Surge did very, very well. When The<br />

Surge was released, our publisher<br />

contacted us the next day and<br />

shared the news with us. And it was<br />

about two weeks after the game was<br />

released that everyone agreed on<br />

doing DLC. By that time, it was rather<br />

easy to justify. So far, the DLC has<br />

gone very well, too.<br />

EN: As someone who logged dozens<br />

of hours playing The Surge and A<br />

Walk in the Park, I’m interested to see<br />

where the series goes with The Surge<br />

2. So far, we’ve heard about “larger<br />

and more ambitious level design”<br />

thanks to an improved engine. Can<br />

you share more about this upgraded<br />

engine and what it allows you to<br />

accomplish that you couldn’t in the<br />

original The Surge?<br />

MH: FLEDGE Delta, the new iteration<br />

of the engine, comes with new<br />

features which enable us to improve<br />

on every aspect. A core thing here is<br />

improved performance due to heavily<br />

modified multithreading support. This<br />

additional performance we can make<br />

use of in multiple ways, obviously.<br />

Something which helps a lot for the<br />

bigger levels is a new, computebased<br />

unified volumetric lighting /<br />

fog solution which, just to get that<br />

mentioned, works seamlessly with<br />

transparent objects as well. The<br />

engine now also supports DirectX 12.<br />

“ They asked<br />

for more outdoor<br />

settings.<br />

Amusement Park?<br />

Check.<br />

They asked for<br />

creepier enemies.<br />

Amusement Park?<br />

Check.<br />

they asked for<br />

more varied<br />

design.<br />

Amusement Park?<br />

Check. ”<br />

EN: Speaking of A Walk in the Park,<br />

what inspired the amusement park<br />

setting?<br />

MH: When it was confirmed that<br />

there would be DLC for The Surge,<br />

we had multiple ideas with various<br />

settings. One was the amusement<br />

park setting. What led to that choice<br />

in the end was mostly the feedback<br />

from players. While the feedback<br />

for The Surge was amazing, people<br />

criticized the levels quite often: too<br />

many corridors inside the factory.<br />

They asked for more outdoor<br />

settings. Amusement Park? Check.<br />

They asked for creepier enemies.<br />

Amusement Park? Check. They<br />

asked for more varied design.<br />

Amusement Park? Check. I could<br />

continue the list here, but basically<br />

we took the feedback from so many<br />

posts on Reddit, Steam, Twitch,<br />

dozens of gaming forums, and in<br />

reviews. In the end it all led to the<br />


EN: In an industry increasingly<br />

populated by so-called Souls-likes,<br />

The Surge stands out for me due to its<br />

futuristic dystopia and its unique limb<br />

dismemberment mechanic. What do<br />

you think Deck 13 has contributed to<br />

the genre, and where would you like to<br />

take it from here?<br />

MH: Lords of the Fallen was our first<br />

step into the genre. It got some harsh<br />

feedback as it was compared to Dark<br />

Souls a bit too much. Even with Lords<br />

we already tried to separate a bit from<br />

the Souls series with our own ideas but,<br />

well, you know, maybe we did not risk<br />

enough. With The Surge we did. Take<br />

the combat system for example - Souls<br />

players dislike it in the beginning quite<br />

often, some call it clunky. Then they get<br />

into it. It requires a completely different<br />

approach, even without the limb<br />

dismemberment. Talking about that:<br />

limb dismemberment is a thing we will<br />

definitely take to the next level in The<br />

Surge 2. But yeah, overall there are lots<br />

and lots of small little details which do<br />

set us apart I think and which make The<br />

Surge its very own type of game. Is it a<br />

Souls-Like? Definitely. Does it stand on<br />

its own feet? Hell yes.<br />

EN: On the same note, what lessons did<br />

you learn from Lords of the Fallen?<br />

MH: We learned a lot. Until that time,<br />

Lords of the Fallen was the biggest<br />

project Deck13 had ever worked on.<br />

And the whole structure of the company<br />

itself was not prepared for the size of<br />

the project. That led to some troubles<br />

and confusions and it cost quite some<br />

sweat and blood to overcome those<br />

issues. That sounds quite harsh - in the<br />

end it was a learning process. When<br />

the production of Lords started, the<br />

production was quite efficient. But the<br />

project got bigger, more people got<br />

involved, more separate teams within<br />

the team had to be formed and so<br />

on. On paper that sounds rather easy,<br />

but establishing new processes in a<br />

team which has worked together for<br />

years - that’s tricky. Lords helped us<br />

to establish these structures and The<br />

Surge benefited from that. But we then<br />

learned so many things from The Surge<br />

too.<br />

EN: On the same note, what lessons did<br />

you learn from Lords of the Fallen?<br />

MH: I read that quite often these days.<br />

That the market is crowded and that<br />

some part of the market is taking<br />

away share from the other parts of the<br />

market. Honestly? I don’t think that this<br />

is a thing. The overall market is growing.<br />

If your game is interesting and you know<br />

your audience and who you are creating<br />

the games for and the marketing adds<br />

on top of that, you will find your space.<br />

I’m not saying that this is an easy task,<br />

but it is doable. Personally I find that it is<br />

easier to develop games you’d love to<br />

play yourself. Why? Because if you are<br />

the audience yourself, well, then you just<br />

have to find people who are like you.<br />

EN: Finally, when you’re not designing,<br />

programming, and play testing, what<br />

games do you like to play? What were<br />

your favorites from 2017?<br />

MH: Personally I’m sitting on a big<br />

backlog of shame. So... my favorite<br />

from 2017 is Divinity: Original Sin. Yes.<br />

The first one. I finally found the time for<br />

it! But in the company itself it varies a<br />

lot. Some are completely addicted to<br />

PUBG these days and celebrate their<br />

chicken dinners, others are praising the<br />

sun all night long and recently everyone<br />

started hunting Great Jagras.<br />

I’d like to thank Michael and the entire<br />

Deck 13 crew, and Carly Shields of<br />

Evolve PR for making the connection.<br />

You can read more about Deck 13 on<br />

its website.<br />

- Evan Norris

Image by Justin Ladia taken from flickr



AT<br />



“There is nothing judge-y about it, you’re free to do what you want”<br />

– Heather<br />

Dungeons and Dragons at Gametraders Macarthur Square started way back in the early 1990s. As<br />

a fantasy fan I lapped up everything I could, reading the Tolkien, Feist and the Dragonlance series<br />

just wasn’t enough. I managed to convince a group of friends to gather together and play some<br />

tabletop role playing. I got to work on creating the world, a story arc, villages and towns. Filling a<br />

notebook with maps I felt I was ready, my friends were then released into the world and took to<br />

burning down the inn, slaughtering my Non Player Characters and destroying everything I had made<br />

– and I wasn’t even mad, I loved it!<br />

After high school, time became poor, my family life took over and I was unable to find a group<br />

to play with. This all changed when the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons was released, I<br />

purchased the Starter Set in the first month it was released, I felt hooked again. I reconnected with<br />

some old friends and we agreed to play together online over Skype, along with some new friends<br />

from all over the world, we set a weekly timeslot and committed to the adventure. As the Dungeon<br />

Master I took my characters through the Starter Set, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of<br />

Tiamat. I’ve since retired as a DM and still meet with the group online weekly.<br />

One of the first things I decided to do once I owned Gametraders Macarthur Square was to have<br />

a place locally for players to meet and play Dungeons and Dragons in a casual environment. Since<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2017 we’ve been running DnD in store and it’s now grown to two nights a week, Friday and<br />


Image by Benny mazur taken from flickr

We’ve had some great feedback from our<br />

players, some of which are new and others that<br />

are well experienced in the art of rolling a D20.<br />

They report that they love the environment<br />

and the new friends they have met. According<br />

to Heather, “Its local so travel isn’t an issue,<br />

it’s a lot of fun and the environment is really<br />

great because you’re surrounded by a lot of<br />

awesome games and surrounded by people<br />

in the community who also have the same<br />

interests.” Belle agrees, “I was always a gamer<br />

and started coming the first day you guys started<br />

running DnD, I only missed one week!” Heather<br />

jokes “How dare you! That’s dedication.” Belle<br />

then laments, “Yeah I’ll always remember that<br />

one week I had to go to a concert.” And Izaak<br />

sees the benefit in bringing people together “If<br />

you don’t have friends with time to play, having a<br />

place where people can come each week allows<br />

you to meet new people.”<br />

The freedom of expression, the individuality<br />

and imagination that is brought to the table<br />

that I found so compelling as a young adult has<br />

remained a staple for DnD. Where 4th Edition<br />

complicated the world and rulesets, 5th Edition<br />

has brought back the simplicity that doesn’t get<br />

in the way of the role playing. However, more<br />

important than the ruleset is the people and<br />

place that facilitates the game.

Heather says, “For me it’s the<br />

people, in our campaign at the<br />

moment you get to play as a little<br />

animal so that is adorable! The<br />

people I play with makes the game<br />

for me.” Belle agrees saying, “I love<br />

building a character and the world<br />

around you with friends at a table.”<br />

An important staple of the Dungeon<br />

and Dragons table is the Dungeon<br />

Master. Our DMs are now rewarded<br />

with store credit, given by the<br />

players that attend, it’s a small<br />

thank you for their time and the<br />

creative energy that goes into<br />

making an experience for their<br />

group.<br />

Image by Benny mazur taken from flickr

Izaak, one of our committed Dungeon Masters,<br />

shared the story of how he became a DM. “A<br />

couple of years ago I was overseas and I had<br />

a friend who was big into DnD, I always wanted<br />

to try it but I thought a DM was someone you<br />

needed to pay, like you’d have to find them on<br />

the internet or something because they know<br />

the rules and everything. Once I found my friend<br />

he showed me how to do it.” Izaak continues,<br />

“so, I said to my friend he should be the Dungeon<br />

Master, but he said he wasn’t good at it and that<br />

I should try. I just did it and they were like wow!<br />

You’re the best we’ve had, so I’ve kept doing it.”<br />

And that is exactly what Izaak has done, he now<br />

hosts a committed group weekly in store, “I like<br />

the world building, making goofy characters and I<br />

like facilitating the fun.”<br />

Dungeons and Dragons now runs on Friday and<br />

Saturday nights in store. Registration is open<br />

from 5:30pm with the games kicking off at<br />

6:15pm. New players are welcome and you’ll get<br />

the chance to try new campaigns through the<br />

DnD Adventurer’s League as they are released.<br />

Written by Benn<br />

Banasik, Owner<br />

of Gametraders<br />

Macarthur Square.<br />

With a special thanks<br />

to Heather, Belle<br />

and Izaak for their<br />




“It’s fun, I like the interactive side of it and I like to play giant dragons!”<br />

– Jeremy<br />

Magic the Gathering events at Macarthur Square have been going for almost 12 months. During<br />

this past year the store has increased weekly events to now hosting tournaments two nights a<br />

week, Monday and Saturday. Choosing to focus on Commander has created a small but tight<br />

community with a more relaxed vibe to more competitive locations in the area.<br />

With the new ownership of the store in <strong>June</strong> 2017, we introduced trading in Magic the Gathering<br />

singles from day one. Our first Magic focused staff member Nick helped us get the tournaments<br />

off the ground and now our new TCG focused staff member Rune is running the Magic show.<br />

We’ve progressed up the levels on the Wizards Play Network and have the ability to do sneak<br />

peaks and run competitive events! It’s an exciting time as the community has grown from just a<br />

few players to a diverse group that feel comfortable to call our store home for a few hours each<br />

week.<br />

Commander is a multiplayer format of Magic where players have decks of 100 cards with a single<br />

legendary creature available to be called upon. We asked the community what they loved best<br />

about the Commander format. Jeremy said “I like Commander as you can be more creative, with<br />

100 cards with no doubles you need to be creative. Its good for everybody and with multiplayer<br />

anyone can jank the win.. if everyone thinks you’re not a threat haha!” Josh agreed saying “I like<br />

the customisation as you don’t know what you’re going to get as compared to what you’re going to<br />

be up against. Anything can happen, in Commander people build what they like or what they can<br />

afford and anything can work.” Jackson jokes, “It gives me something to spend money on and it<br />

gives me something to spend brain power on, both of which I am severely lacking.”

As you can probably see, our players don’t<br />

take themselves too seriously. It is a casual<br />

affair where players are creating the craziest<br />

decks to try out on each other. The community<br />

has tried a few drafting events and excitedly<br />

look forward to what is coming out in future<br />

for Magic. Their enthusiasm is pipped by Rune<br />

who has to be dragged away from the Magic<br />

rare folder and boxes of cards that we now<br />

offer for the customers. Organising the cards<br />

so they are easily accessible is something<br />

that Rune is clearly passionate about and<br />

we’re grateful for his support, good staff<br />

is what sets us apart from the department<br />

stores that surround us.<br />

Our players shared some kind words too!<br />

Jeremy loves the Monday nights, “I work really<br />

long hours and having the game on Monday<br />

the working week hasn’t drained me, Monday<br />

isn’t good for anybody and this is something to<br />

look forward to on a Monday!”

Tim, one of Gametraders Macarthur Square’s<br />

youngest players who is about 10 years younger<br />

than the majority of players who play loves it when,<br />

according to him “When my friends come together<br />

to play a couple of games.” He is here talking about<br />

his father who also plays and the fellow players<br />

that he has met in store. Tim continues “it is more<br />

friendly (than other places) and is more for fun.”<br />

Jackson agrees, “It’s a friendly atmosphere and you<br />

don’t feel intimidated as it is much more casual.”<br />

The casual focus, friendly and open environment,<br />

with generous prize support and engaging staff is<br />

what makes our store different.<br />

Magic the Gathering: Commander runs on Monday<br />

night in store. On Saturday we run a variety of Magic<br />

events including Standard Showdown as well as<br />

Store Championship events alongside our regular<br />

Pokemon Tournament. Registration is open from<br />

5:30pm with the tournaments kicking off at 6:15pm.<br />

Written by Benn Banasik, Owner of<br />

Gametraders Macarthur Square.<br />

With a special thanks to Jeremy,<br />

Tim and Jackson for their<br />


...Trading cards, tournaments, accessories<br />

& more. Get it all at Gametraders.<br />




YU-GI-OH: WEDNESDAY 5:30pm<br />


POKEMON: SATURDAY 5:30pm<br />


Tournaments are subject to change. Please check with your local store on tournament times before attending.<br />

Visit www.gametraders.com.au/facebook to find your local stores Facebook page.

GameTraders EVENTS<br />

& tournaments!<br />

NSW<br />


Dungeons & Dragons TCG - Saturday 10am<br />

Yu-Gi-Oh - Saturday 10:30am<br />

Magic the Gathering - Thursday 6:30pm<br />

Pokémon - Saturday 11am<br />


Magic the Gathering - Monday 5:30pm<br />

Final Fantasy - Tuesday 5:30pm<br />

Yu-Gi-Oh - Wednesday 5:30pm<br />

Dungeons & Dragons / Board Games - Friday 5:30pm<br />

Pokémon - Saturday 5:30pm<br />


Yu-Gi-Oh - Wednesday 6pm<br />

Magic the Gathering - Friday 6pm<br />

Cardfight!! Vanguard - Wednesday 6pm<br />


Cardfight!! Vanguard - Saturday 5pm<br />

Magic the Gathering - Friday 7pm<br />

Pokémon - Saturday 12pm<br />

X-Wing - Wednesday 7pm<br />

Dragon Ball Z - Thursday 6pm<br />

Force of Will - Friday 7:30pm<br />

Buddyfight - Saturday 12pm<br />

My Little Pony - Saturday 5pm<br />

Demo board games from Wednesday through to Saturday.<br />


Yu-Gi-Oh - Tuesday 4pm & Sunday 11am<br />

Pokémon - Sunday 2pm<br />

Magic the Gathering (Draft) - Wednesday 4pm & 7pm<br />

Hearthstone Fireside Gathering + Tournament - Wednesday 6pm<br />

Board Games - Thursday 7pm<br />

Magic the Gathering (FNM) - 6pm (Standard, Modern, Draft)<br />

Super Smash Bros - Saturday 1pm<br />

Magic the Gathering (Commander) - Saturday 2pm<br />

For more special events and tournaments please visit:<br />


SA<br />


Yu-Gi-Oh! Coming Soon!<br />

MARION<br />

Pokémon - Saturday 2pm<br />

Cardfight!! Vanguard - Tuesday 6pm<br />

Yu-Gi-Oh - Wednesday 6pm<br />

Final Fantasy - Wednesday 6pm<br />

Magic the Gathering - Friday 6pm<br />

X-Wing - Every second Monday from 2pm. Check<br />

with staff for details.<br />


FREE Monday Night Magic and Vanguard - 6pm<br />

(5:30pm registration)<br />

Magic the Gathering Modern and Commander -<br />

Tuesday 6pm (5:30pm registration)<br />

Friday Night Magic - Friday 6pm (5:30pm registration)<br />

Cardfight!! Vanguard - Wednesday & Friday 6pm<br />

(5:30pm registration)<br />

Yu-Gi-Oh! - Thursday 6pm (5:30pm registration)<br />

Pokémon - Sunday 1pm (12:30 registration)<br />

Casual events on Saturdays! Check our Facebook page for<br />

ACT<br />


Yu-Gi-Oh - Saturday 10am<br />

Pokémon - Saturday 2pm<br />

QLD<br />


Yu-Gi-Oh - Sunday 3pm & Wednesday 6:30pm<br />

Final Fantasy - Tuesday 6:30pm<br />

Cardfight!! Vanguard - Wednesday 6:30pm<br />

Pokémon - Saturday 3pm<br />

Magic the Gathering - Tuesday & Friday 6:30pm<br />


Magic the Gathering Modern - Wednesday 7pm<br />

Magic the Gathering Standard - Friday 7pm<br />

Yu-Gi-Oh - Thursday 6pm & Sunday 2pm<br />

Pokémon - Saturday 12pm<br />

Magic the Gathering Learn to Play - Saturday<br />

12pm<br />

LARP Tournaments - Saturday 6pm<br />

details.<br />


Final Fantasy - Tuesday 6pm (5:30pm registration)<br />

Magic the Gathering - Friday 6pm (5:30pm registration)<br />

Magic the Gathering (Casual) - Thursday 5:30pm<br />

Yu-Gi-Oh - Saturday 12pm (11:30am registration)<br />

Pokémon - Sunday 12pm (11:30am registration)<br />

FIND OUT<br />

MORE...<br />

each store has their own facebook page! just search<br />

gametraders followed by their store locatioN name<br />




Dungeons and Dragons - The Original and Some Alternatives<br />

My first experience with Dungeons and Dragons was<br />

the game Baldur’s Gate 2 on PC. I could be a Druid<br />

who turned into a werewolf, and that was awesome.<br />

Then I found the Dragonlance books by Margaret<br />

Weis and Tracey Hickman and found the story of the<br />

Heroes of the Lance to be something that I wanted<br />

to strive towards. Then I discovered R.A. Salvatore’s<br />

Forgotten Realms books and the adventures of<br />

Drizzt Do’Urden, who started a hundred Character<br />

Creations of arrow made good with two swords<br />

and a big cat. Then I actually played Dungeons and<br />

Dragons 3rd Edition. Which was fun.<br />

Though what I did much more than play D&D was<br />

read the source books and novels. Immersing myself<br />

in the worlds they described and memorising the<br />

different variations in the worlds. Dragonlance with<br />

its steel as currency and exploding half dragon<br />

creatures. Greyhawk with its... well... it was the basic<br />

setting for D&D 3rd Edition so most of it wasn’t that<br />

memorable. Forgotten Realms with its signature<br />

Good Drow character and Year of Rogue Dragons<br />

(coincidentally my favourite D&D book series). But<br />

then I noticed something that I hadn’t before but<br />

intrigued me.<br />

Turns out D&D isn’t the only tabletop role playing<br />

game out there!<br />

So here are a few others to check out, if you ever<br />

feel like experiencing something new.

(PAIZO) The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive<br />

in a world beset by magic and evil!<br />

Take on the role of a canny fighter hacking through enemies with an enchanted sword, a powerful<br />

sorceress blessed with magic by the hint of demon blood in her veins, a wise cleric of gods benevolent<br />

or malign, a witty rogue ready to defuse even the deadliest of traps, or any of countless other heroes.<br />

The only limit is your imagination!<br />


The spiritual successor to Dungeons and<br />

Dragons 3.5 and continuing the tradition of being<br />

an absolute number cruncher. If you enjoy cosmic<br />

horror, fantasy worlds with other planets to travel<br />

too, and an all-encompassing love of goblins,<br />

Pathfinder is the one for you. Just be aware that<br />

there is a lot of numbers to remember. Due for a<br />

2nd Edition quite soon.<br />


Order in-store.

(PAZIO) Strap in and blast off! The Starfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a bold sciencefantasy<br />

explorer, investigating the mysteries of a weird and magical universe as part of a starship crew.<br />

Will you delve for lost artifacts in the ruins of alien temples? Strap on rune-enhanced armor and a laser rifle<br />

to battle undead empires in fleets of bone ships, or defend colonists from a swarm of ravenous monsters?<br />

Maybe you’ll hack into the mainframe of a god-run corporation, or search the stars for clues to the secret<br />

history of the universe or brand new planets to explore. Whether you’re making first contact with new<br />

cultures on uncharted worlds or fighting to survive in the neon-lit back alleys of Absalom Station, you and<br />

your team will need all your wits, combat skill, and magic to make it through. But most of all, you’ll need<br />

each other.<br />


A sort of sequel to Pathfinder set far into<br />

the future with space travel, guns and new<br />

and unique species to explore a well fleshed<br />

out star system filled with the usual fantasy<br />

monsters and many more creatures. Has some<br />

refinements to the Pathfinder model that make<br />

it a bit less number crunchy.<br />


Order in-store.

(3thAGESRD)13th Age is an “open” d20-based tabletop fantasy RPG similar in play to games like D&D<br />

3.0/3.5 and Pathfinder. 13th Age makes use of many game mechanics and features that are intended to<br />

develop characters and story as the game is played. Mundane combat equipment is based only on the<br />

class of weapon and the class of character using it. For instance, a basic attack with a dagger in the hands<br />

of a rogue does the same damage as a basic attack with a longsword in the hands of a fighter. Speaking<br />

of fighters, martial classes gain some variety in their combat. Fighters, for instance, have features that<br />

allow their attacks to proc certain advantages depending on the roll of the die and if the attack hit or not.<br />

Rogues build momentum as they attack. Barbarians rage.<br />

13th AGE<br />

Take what people loved about D&D 4th edition, mix it with what<br />

people loved about D&D 3rd edition, blend in a whole lot of<br />

narrativist sensibility and freeform solutions and viola! You get 13th<br />

Age. By far my favourite game system, 13th Age works best when<br />

people are shooting off improvisations left and right, and adds<br />

an incredibly unique mechanic in the Icons, extremely powerful<br />

characters that exist within the game world and can affect your<br />

game for good and ill.<br />


Order in-store.

(DUNGEON-WORLD) Dungeon World is a tabletop roleplaying game. Gather some friends and embark on<br />

adventure. Play to find out what happens.<br />


Strip away everything about Dungeons and Dragons. Now start<br />

from scratch. Build your world collaboratively with your players.<br />

Everything is defined by a Move, which is always predicated by<br />

the GM asking, ‘What do you do?’. Really easy to run and easy<br />

to organise. Plus, it helps that you only need the one rule book to<br />

play. Within this as well are a whole lot of other games which are<br />

Powered by The Apocalypse, including the original Apocalypse<br />

World, which use the same ruleset for entirely different worlds.<br />


Order in-store.

(EVIL HAT)Blades in the Dark is a tabletop role-playing game about a crew of daring scoundrels seeking<br />

their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city. There are heists, chases, occult<br />

mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had — if you’re bold enough<br />

to seize them.<br />

You and your fledgling crew must thrive amidst the threats of rival gangs, powerful noble families, vengeful<br />

ghosts, the Bluecoats of the city watch, and the siren song of your scoundrel’s own vices. Will you rise to<br />

power in the criminal underworld? What are you willing to do to get to the top?<br />


Probably the most focused of the games I’m mentioning here.<br />

Imagine you were in a gang trying to steal expensive stuff<br />

to up your credibility in a world eerily similar to the worlds of<br />

Dishonoured and Thief. That’s Blades in the Dark. One rule book<br />

which has all the information you need in it, and one hell of an<br />

aesthetic.<br />


Order in-store.

(CUBICLE 7) Smaug has been defeated, the Battle of Five Armies has been won, and Bilbo has returned to<br />

the Shire. But much danger still remains, and from the Orc-holds of the mountains to the dark and corrupt<br />

depths of Mirkwood a darkness waits, recovering its strength, laying its plans, and slowly extending its<br />


Set between the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, this game isn’t<br />

one I’ve played yet, but I’ve heard enough good things about it<br />

that I’m intrigued and really want to play it. It’s use of unique dice<br />

and connection to one of the most beloved book and film series<br />

of all time certainly helps.<br />


Order in-store.

(RPG.net)The STAR WARS universe is brought to life by this roleplaying game, designed to allow players to<br />

emulate the lively universe of the films. Players may assume the roles of Jedi, Smugglers, Imperials, or any<br />

of the many other factions that inhabit the beloved STAR WARS galaxy.<br />


With its core books of Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion<br />

and Forces and Destiny it gives the players the ability to be<br />

anything from a ship mechanic on the outer rim to a Jedi<br />

hidden from the Emperors purges. Plus, the GM gets to play<br />

as the Empire. So that’s fun.<br />

Written by<br />

Shaun Stoddard<br />


Order in-store.



The wait has felt long since<br />

Quantic Dream’s last original<br />

title, Beyond: Two Souls,<br />

launched on PlayStation 3. The<br />

wait is now over, and Detroit:<br />

Become Human makes up<br />

for lost time with an industryleading<br />

narrative and visuals<br />

previously unseen on current<br />

generation hardware. That’s<br />

not to mention the game’s<br />

surprisingly standout sound<br />

design and genre-appropriate<br />

soundtrack or the refinements<br />

to the studio’s standard (and<br />

often critiqued) control scheme.<br />

In many ways, Detroit is the<br />

culmination of David Cage’s<br />

previous works and plays better<br />

than all of them.<br />

The year is 2038, and the city of<br />

Detroit has been revitalized by<br />

the invention and proliferation<br />

of androids. In Detroit, androids<br />

serve human needs, taking on<br />

roles in manual labor, childcare,<br />

and even the military. This<br />

invention takes its toll, however,<br />

as unemployment skyrockets<br />

and androids disrupt traditional<br />

ways of life. The game follows<br />

the stories of three androids<br />

against this backdrop – a city<br />

split in two by this simultaneous<br />

economic boom and collapse.<br />

The stories of the title’s three<br />

androids (Connor, Kara, and<br />

Marcus) are one of the game’s<br />

many highlights, which should<br />

come as no surprise based<br />

on Cage’s history. Each of<br />

the androids’ stories carries a<br />

distinct tone, lending Detroit an<br />

increase in gameplay variety<br />

from the studio’s past titles.<br />

Unfortunately, not all stories are<br />

created equal, and Marcus’s<br />

arc is easily the most uneven of<br />

the three narratives. That being<br />

said, the stories have varying<br />

strengths and evoke different<br />

reactions depending on<br />

your choices.


Detroit is full of twists and turns and boasts<br />

high replayability due to the game’s many, many<br />

branching pathways. In fact, the branching story<br />

pathways make it difficult to concisely review this<br />

aspect of the game, yet I reacted positively to the<br />

narrative direction of both my original playthrough<br />

as well as the handful of chapters I replayed for<br />

experimentation. The developers simplified the<br />

process of replaying story segments, enabling<br />

players to view their decisions and alternate paths<br />

at the conclusion of each chapter, which was a<br />

very welcome and logical addition for such a storydriven<br />

game.<br />

Thankfully, Detroit features improvements in<br />

gameplay variety without the confusing narrative<br />

choices or sacrificed pacing of Beyond: Two Souls.<br />

Players can expect a lot of walking and interaction<br />

with the game’s environment, but such scenes<br />

are often followed by action or escape sequences<br />

(typically overcome through quick time events),<br />

and, in at least one instance, a stealth mission.<br />

Cage’s narrative style is still present in full force,<br />

although it is more refined than his previous works,<br />

even if the writing occasionally veers toward the<br />

implausible or melodramatic. In the end, such<br />

criticisms only seem fair when comparing Detroit<br />

to films or novels rather than video games. Cage’s<br />

vision is virtually unparalleled among his peers in<br />

the game industry.<br />

His formula is straightforward but effective: build<br />

tension through a combination of dialogue, stellar<br />

sound design, and visual cues to a thrilling climax.<br />

Even though it was usually obvious when scenes<br />

were leading to a dark turn, the game’s direction<br />

and narrative managed to genuinely surprise me.<br />

There were several instances in which I made a<br />

decision that led me down a path I couldn’t have<br />

anticipated, whereas my choices seemed to lead<br />

to more predictable outcomes in previous Quantic<br />

Dream titles. The seemingly “safe” options may<br />

not be as they seem. In Heavy Rain, for instance, I<br />

was more likely to begin a new story path because<br />

I failed a quick time event than because of<br />

ambiguous dialogue choices.

Furthermore, the quick time events in Detroit<br />

have been improved and expanded considerably.<br />

The game is much more lenient and accurate<br />

in interpreting player inputs compared to Heavy<br />

Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. This improvement<br />

means that I did not fail a single quick time event,<br />

but it also means that the game is noticeably<br />

easier and less dynamic in its potential for quick<br />

story changes. Due to this shift, I interacted with<br />

a narrative that was dictated almost exclusively<br />

by dialogue choices and the thoroughness with<br />

which I explored environments rather than the<br />

occasional misfortune or error. It’s hard to feel<br />

tense when success seems all but certain during<br />

major action sequences.

Beyond narrative, Detroit: Become Human<br />

excels in both its visuals and sound. The<br />

game’s settings were meticulously designed<br />

and rendered to perfection. While Quantic<br />

Dream may have set the new benchmark<br />

for console graphics, it comes at a cost.<br />

Environments are still relatively small despite<br />

the increased power of the current generation<br />

of consoles. I frequently ran into invisible walls<br />

which felt discordant with the developers’<br />

presumed goal of player immersion. Even if<br />

it is a reasonable sacrifice given technical<br />

limitations, the restriction seems odd when<br />

considered alongside the studio’s emphasis<br />

on player choice and insistence on players<br />

replicating real-life movements with precise<br />

button inputs. How immersive can it be if one<br />

is so often told they went the wrong way just<br />

for venturing slightly off the path? However,<br />

these qualms ultimately feel like nitpicks when<br />

a game’s presentation and gameplay are this<br />

good.<br />

Detroit: Become Human is a showcase for the<br />

importance of interactive narratives, and it is<br />

a testament to Cage’s craft that Detroit works<br />

so well. In straddling the boundary between<br />

games and films, Quantic Dream continues<br />

to deliver unique experiences that evoke<br />

feelings of both media, in which immersion<br />

and choice are balanced with tightly-directed<br />

story beats. Quantic Dream has outdone itself<br />

and delivered another must-play PlayStation<br />

exclusive. The finished product is quite unlike<br />

anything else available today, and I wholly<br />

recommend Detroit: Become Human.<br />

By Jackson Newsome, VGChartz<br />




State of Decay 2 is a menagerie of game<br />

genres – (zombie) survival, role-playing, action,<br />

and management simulation combine to offer a<br />

deep and entertaining game concept. However,<br />

while the concept and framework are excellent,<br />

the game stumbles in execution, resulting in a<br />

title that’s good but could, and arguably should,<br />

be better.<br />

The premise is fairly simple. There’s a zombie<br />

infection running rampant, and you have to<br />

survive. That is neither original nor noteworthy<br />

- what you have to do to survive is, however.<br />

Sure, there is still foraging for weapons and<br />

other useful items, but the added complexity<br />

and dynamics provided by the role-playing and<br />

management simulation set the game apart and,<br />

in that respect, above other offerings.<br />

As part of surviving the dire circumstances,<br />

you’re tasked with managing a community.<br />

After the tutorial, you’ll have the first three<br />

members of your community. You can control<br />

any of them, but only one at a time (you can also<br />

have one accompany you as an NPC). Death<br />

is permanent for characters, whether you’re<br />

controlling them or not. Additionally, you can<br />

exile unwanted members and recruit new ones.

Each character in the game<br />

has different traits and<br />

abilities, some good and<br />

some bad. Hilariously, I had<br />

one character who had both<br />

optimism and a bleak outlook<br />

as two of his traits. Each<br />

character has health, stamina,<br />

morale, and standing. Health<br />

and stamina are straight<br />

forward, but both can be<br />

depleted to the point where<br />

only med kits (a rarer health<br />

item) or rest (especially in a<br />

base with a level 2 infirmary)<br />

will allow full recovery.<br />

Morale is usually a product of<br />

the condition and resources<br />

of your base, though<br />

sometimes a character will<br />

have a particular mission that<br />

will increase their morale if<br />

you complete it, or decrease<br />

if you neglect to do so. The<br />

latter option proved to be the<br />

final straw for a good member<br />

of my community during a<br />

particular rough patch. He<br />

literally left the community as<br />

I was returning with needed<br />

supplies. I was going to<br />

undertake his mission next (I<br />

swear), but apparently I had<br />

waited too long.<br />

Standing is simple, but<br />

important. Each character’s<br />

standing increases as you<br />

perform useful tasks, from<br />

killing zombies, to contributing<br />

resources to the community base.<br />

To really progress in the game, you<br />

must eventually elect a character<br />

as the community leader, which you<br />

can only do once their standing is<br />

high enough.<br />

In addition, there are five<br />

upgradable skills. Four of the five<br />

upgradeable skills start off as the<br />

same respective skill (Cardio, Wits,<br />

Fighting, and Shooting), though,<br />

as each can be upgraded, most<br />

with a branching option, they can<br />

and will diverge with progress. The<br />

fifth slot is reserved for a unique<br />

skill that can be learned (via books<br />

that can be found), but also may<br />

already be learned by the time you<br />

acquire a character. Regardless,<br />

once that skill is learned, it cannot<br />

be changed, only upgraded. The<br />

“fifth” skill will usually add abilities<br />

to craft additional items or build<br />

new facilities (or upgrade existing<br />

ones) on your base.<br />

Base building and management<br />

is a major element of the game.<br />

There are a variety of facilities to<br />

build or upgrade within a base,<br />

as well as the ability to move to<br />

different bases that might offer<br />

more slots for facilities, and/or<br />

some built-in perks that others do<br />

not. Effectively managing the base<br />

and your resources, and utilizing<br />

the strengths of your community<br />

members, is a critical part of State<br />

of Decay 2.<br />

Lastly, there are survivors and<br />

“enclaves” (factions) all throughout<br />

the open worlds (there are three<br />

unique maps that you can try<br />

to survive on). You will receive<br />

random requests for help of one<br />

sort or another. Responding or<br />

not, and how you respond, all have<br />

consequences, though they weren’t<br />

always, if ever, too significant in my<br />

two playthroughs.

Rounding out the population are<br />

zombies. Most are generic, but<br />

some are plague zombies, and<br />

have the ability to infect your<br />

characters with the blood plague,<br />

for which you have a limited time<br />

to treat. In addition, there are<br />

four types of unique zombies<br />

that present a greater challenge.<br />

Infestations will arise at various<br />

locations. As with many other<br />

things in this game, addressing<br />

those can boost morale; leaving<br />

them to fester will lower morale<br />

and can increase the chance of a<br />

zombie siege at your base.<br />

With all of these elements, the<br />

pace of the game is relentless.<br />

Trying to balance tasks such as<br />

tending to the needs of individuals<br />

in and out of your community,<br />

eliminating infestations, gathering<br />

and effectively managing<br />

resources, and simply just<br />

surviving, can be incredibly<br />

difficult. At worst, it feels too<br />

contrived. A good example of<br />

this is when a new member of<br />

my community, who hadn’t even<br />

made it back to our base yet,<br />

inexplicably started a fight with<br />

an existing member at our base<br />

because of low morale – and our<br />

morale was a little above stable.<br />

However, overcoming the<br />

challenges, contrived or<br />

otherwise, can be wonderfully<br />

fulfilling. Inspecting the map<br />

for locations that might contain<br />

needed resources, then gearing<br />

up and setting out, and ultimately<br />

returning with the resources and<br />

adding hope to the community<br />

is genuinely satisfying. Losing<br />

daylight while doing so is<br />

disconcerting. Running out of<br />

fuel, stamina, or, as happened to<br />

me, overturning your vehicle or<br />

having it destroyed by a horde<br />

of zombies (and some shoddy<br />

driving) is outright frightening and<br />

exhilarating. But again, prevailing<br />

over such adversities and<br />

hardships feels like an authentic,<br />

rewarding achievement.

Moments and experiences<br />

like those are where the game<br />

shines. Other aspects are a<br />

mixed-bag. I found combat<br />

responsive and pleasing, but<br />

the simplicity of it might make<br />

it feel repetitive for some. The<br />

graphics are so mediocre that,<br />

at first glance, I couldn’t help<br />

but wonder if they were any<br />

better that the original State<br />

of Decay on Xbox 360. At<br />

times, they’re just fine, but<br />

there are some truly bland or<br />

ugly textures. The general art<br />

direction is good, the graphics<br />

just don’t really complement it.<br />

The game controls are<br />

customizable, and are mostly<br />

fine. My biggest complaint is<br />

how often the “interact” button<br />

(Y by default) is used. Case in<br />

point: fuelling up a four door<br />

car can be a chore. You have<br />

to find the sweet spot between<br />

the rear driver’s side door and<br />

the trunk - miss it, and you’re<br />

managing the trunk inventory or<br />

hopping in the car. The same<br />

issue applies for looting with an<br />

NPC around. In a bind, that can<br />

be really frustrating.<br />

That brings me to the game’s<br />

general lack of polish. Even<br />

after a 6GB patch was recently<br />

made available, it seems the<br />

majority of the issues I’ve<br />

encountered remain.<br />

Some are innocuous, however<br />

distracting, like zombies<br />

spawning in the air, or doors<br />

appearing open but behaving<br />

as though they’re closed.<br />

Additionally, I’ve had NPCs<br />

block my path, or yell at me for<br />

aiming my gun at them when<br />

they step in the way, and I’ve<br />

had my character ignore using<br />

a ladder, instead walking over<br />

the edge. This hasn’t resulted in<br />

death, but it has inflicted injury<br />

every time.<br />

I had a survivor request help<br />

at a residence, only for me to<br />

clear it out but be unable to<br />

find him there. Looking at the<br />

map, I saw he was now down<br />

the road at another house. I<br />

drove to that house to watch<br />

him run out of it and down the<br />

street to where he was originally<br />

supposed to be. Better yet,<br />

when I went back and talked<br />

with him at that first location,<br />

he asked if I would accompany<br />

him to the house he had literally<br />

just run from. The one time I<br />

died, my body disappeared,<br />

whereas when some of my<br />

community members died, I<br />

could loot their bodies. I wasn’t<br />

sure what to make of it, until<br />

just before beating the game,<br />

I found myself near the area I<br />

had died, and suddenly the body<br />

reappeared so that I could loot<br />

it like normal.<br />

Perhaps the most disappointing<br />

unpolished element is the<br />

multiplayer. Cooperative gameplay<br />

is probably the biggest addition<br />

and improvement in this sequel.<br />

Indeed, it does add some fun and<br />

possibilities, but in my admittedly<br />

limited time playing co-op (thanks<br />

Donovan and Jed), more issues<br />

manifested. From performance<br />

problems (usually not affecting the<br />

host) to issues of items and actions<br />

not appearing for all members of<br />

the game. At one point I had to<br />

quit because I was unable to see or

access the item storage at our base<br />

in a multiplayer session.<br />

In seeing an ending for two different<br />

types of leaders (of which there<br />

are four) I suspect a Mass Effect<br />

3-like ending system. They are<br />

different, but only marginally so,<br />

and I’m not sure how much of an<br />

impact your actions make in the<br />

end. In one playthrough, despite me<br />

making friends with five enclaves,<br />

my Warlord leader was met with<br />

a lot of resistance because of his<br />

“tyrannical” conduct.

All the same, each leader type<br />

unlocks a “Legacy Perk” for future<br />

playthroughs. You can select up<br />

to two of the four for subsequent<br />

playthroughs, as well as up to<br />

three community members who<br />

have made it through previous<br />

playthroughs. This adds some nice<br />

replay potential.<br />

In the end, although no one<br />

glitch or unpolished element is<br />

game-breaking, they combine to<br />

noticeably hinder the experience.<br />

I will note that the developer is<br />

“committed to fixing issues up<br />

to and beyond launch”, but this<br />

is where the game is now. The<br />

story never really does anything<br />

more than serve as a loose form<br />

and guidance for your gameplay<br />

experience. In two playthroughs,<br />

no character or plot point was<br />

memorable. And yet, I’ve had a<br />

hell of a time playing the game,<br />

and many memorable moments<br />

during my time with it. Some of<br />

the execution has more room for<br />

improvement than you’d expect<br />

from a sequel, especially one<br />

published by Microsoft, but overall<br />

it provides a unique, fun, and<br />

satisfying gameplay experience.<br />

By Brandon J. Wysocki, VGChartz<br />


Review by Rex Hindrichs<br />

Since bursting onto the scene 13<br />

years ago, God of of War has been<br />

one of of PlayStation’s most iconic and<br />

bombastic franchises. After several<br />

games across numerous platforms, its<br />

distinct formula had been thoroughly<br />

iterated and it it seemed as though the<br />

franchise as we knew it it had nowhere<br />

else to to go and would fade into memory.<br />

Then, during E3 2016, God of of War<br />

announced its triumphant return with a<br />

wizened protagonist, new mechanics<br />

at at his disposal, and a new mythology<br />

to to explore. Now, 8 years after the<br />

main trilogy concluded, the series’<br />

reinvention has arrived to to do its history<br />

justice for a new generation.<br />

You reprise the role of of Kratos, the<br />

Spartan warrior turned god who<br />

conquered the Greek pantheon of of<br />

Olympus in in his rage. With nothing left<br />

to to go home to, he has wandered the<br />

Earth until ending up far away in in the<br />

Norse land of of Midgard, finding a new<br />

home and starting a new family for<br />

himself. After many years hiding from<br />

his past, our new game begins during<br />

a funeral for his wife, with his young<br />

son Atreus at at his side. Alienated from<br />

each other by Kratos’ deep character<br />

flaws but with only one another to to rely<br />

on now, the two must learn to to connect<br />

as they never have before in in order to to<br />

fulfill the mother’s dying wish together.<br />

As if if real parenting wasn’t going to to be<br />

hard enough for the Ghost of of Sparta,<br />

Kratos must also confront his bloody<br />

past and keep both himself and his<br />

son alive when a mysterious and<br />

powerful stranger shows up on their<br />

doorstep.<br />

Thrust into a new journey for solace<br />

and survival, Kratos and Atreus set<br />

off into a dangerous and unfamiliar<br />

land. Midgard is is wide, winding, and<br />

beautiful. While not as large as today’s<br />

typical open worlds, it’s certainly more<br />

dense, with intricate level design<br />

that changes over the course of of the<br />

game. In In contrast with the zoomed<br />

out automatic camera of of the series’<br />

past, the game is is played from a<br />

tightly focused over-the-shoulder<br />

perspective with a camera that never<br />

cuts for anything save the menus. It’s<br />

an impressive technical feat, though<br />

franchise purists may miss the old<br />


With a new setting comes a new<br />

ecosystem, with everything from<br />

decorative flora and fauna, to all manner<br />

of monstrous beasts, to the powerful<br />

gods and sentient races of Norse<br />

mythology that must be contended<br />

with. To do just that, Kratos has a new<br />

mainstay: the Leviathan axe; a versatile<br />

weapon imbued with frost magic that<br />

can chop, blast, twirl, freeze, and be<br />

thrown in a variety of unlockable ways.<br />

Just as formidable are Kratos’ shield and<br />

bare hands, which can pummel enemies<br />

into a stupor that sets up devastating<br />

finishing moves. Atreus is no liability<br />

either, wielding a bow you can use to stun<br />

enemies and prolong combos.<br />

With numerous tools at your disposal<br />

and multiple ways to use them, combat<br />

is deep and satisfying. ‘Deliberate’ would<br />

be the best way to describe how it<br />

has changed. Fewer, more threatening<br />

enemies require more calculated<br />

responses from the player and force<br />

you to take full advantage of your<br />

skillset. Juggling your various attack<br />

methods to fend off and vanquish a<br />

diverse encounter is very stimulating<br />

and watching your skill improve to do so<br />

is that much more gratifying. Of course,<br />

God of War is also known for its larger<br />

than life boss fights and the new game<br />

- while a bit more grounded than before<br />

- does not shy away from epic and brutal<br />

moments (though you may wish you had<br />

a bit more control over some of them).<br />

You’ll be doing even more exploring than<br />

fighting, so thankfully the environments<br />

have been given just as much attention.<br />

The hours upon hours of twisting pathways are filled with<br />

puzzles, hidden treasure, numerous side missions, and<br />

scores of opportunities to develop our characters and the<br />

lore of the world they inhabit. Your journey will take you<br />

through many distinct realms and each is a sight to behold.<br />

One of the game’s most prominent elements is its<br />

progression. New RPG mechanics dictate your power<br />

and the caliber of enemies you can take on. Your stats<br />

are increased by the gear you loot, craft, and upgrade.<br />

Experience gained in combat and quests can be used<br />

to unlock new moves and abilities. These menus can<br />

be overwhelming at first and even unexpected for an<br />

action game, but their depth allows you to specialize your<br />

characters as you see fit and experiment with different<br />

builds. Progression applies to more than just stats and<br />

moves, as well; watching the world widen and characters<br />

grow before your eyes is greatly rewarding.

Beyond the gameplay, God of War is also a master of<br />

presentation. Richly detailed characters and environments,<br />

sophisticated animation and lighting, dazzling effects,<br />

seamless design, grand sense of scale, clean image quality,<br />

beautiful music, impeccable voice casting, and crunching<br />

sound design all amount to an industry leading audio visual<br />

experience let down by only the slightest bits of pop-in<br />

or performance dips. This artistry further extends to the<br />

game’s improved writing; Kratos is no longer a one note<br />

caricature but a tapestry of scars to draw from. The long,<br />

steady development of father and son is some of gaming’s<br />

best storytelling and anchors the whole affair. All of these<br />

strengths combined exceed the franchise’s reputation.<br />

God of War has evolved. After years of legacy and increasing<br />

familiarity, the next chapter for a new generation has grown<br />

with its audience. With a wider, more balanced scope, loads<br />

of content, and the series’ trademark panache, it chronicles<br />

an adventure both intimate and epic. A new legend has<br />

begun.<br />

9<br />

By Rex Hindrichs. VGChartz

God of War<br />

Norse Mythology

Playing God of War as a person who loves<br />

Norse mythology is like reading a really<br />

cool side story to a bunch of books you’ve<br />

read since you were a kid, but from the<br />

perspective of the villains. There are so<br />

many bits and pieces in this game which are<br />

the very definition of alternative character<br />

interpretation but it all works in the story God<br />

of War is trying to tell.<br />

How do those characters who are drawn<br />

from Norse Mythology measure up to their<br />

real world mythological counterparts? That’s<br />

what we’re here to find out.<br />

Please be warned, this article will contain<br />

spoilers for God of War, which should be<br />

a little obvious because of just how many<br />

Norse characters there are in this thing!<br />

Let’s start with the Stranger that knocks at your<br />

door. There are some pretty good signs that hint<br />

towards his identity in your first knock down drag<br />

out battle. His sheer invulnerability to all harm<br />

(including a giant rock straight up flattening the<br />

man), the big red runes on his back (which spell<br />

out cursed) and mentioning his brother in your first<br />

conversation. His inability to feel is an expansion<br />

of the myths, where the other gods would hurl<br />

weapons at him for fun. Later in the game, around<br />

halfway through, you learn that he is the Aesir God<br />

Baldur.<br />

In the mythology he’s not really described all that<br />

much, just that his mother asked everything in the<br />

world (apart from the plant Mistletoe... or a sword<br />

named Mystletainn. It gets confusing. Different<br />

cultures within the Norse sphere had different<br />

interpretation of this myth) to not cause his death<br />

after a vision he had in which he died. Of course,<br />

Norse mythology being as fatalistic as it is, Baldur<br />

ends up dying at the hands of his brother Hodr, who<br />

was tricked by Loki to throw a mistletoe arrow at<br />

him. After Ragnarok, he and Hodr are resurrected to<br />

live in the new world that is created. In God of War,<br />

Hodr doesn’t feature, so the killing Baldur thing is up<br />

to you as Kratos.<br />

Next up we’ll take a look at the Witch of the<br />

Woods, who is revealed as the goddess Freya. Her<br />

incarnation in this game is very interesting in relation<br />

to the mythology as she is a combination of two<br />

goddesses. The Vanir goddess Freyja, for her magic,<br />

her relation to the Vanir, and her being revealed in a<br />

side quest to be the original Queen of the Valkyries<br />

and the Aesir goddess Frigga, for being Odin’s wife<br />

and Baldur’s mother. Most of the characterisation in<br />

God of War is based on Frigga, especially her being<br />

the one to cast the spell of invulnerability on Baldur<br />

after having a vision of his death.

Odin isn’t featured in this game. You may be<br />

wondering why I’m mentioning him then. Well, even<br />

if he doesn’t physically appear, his actions, his<br />

command, and his sheer bloodthirstiness permeate<br />

everything within the game. He is portrayed as a<br />

villain, a vicious manipulator and murderer who<br />

ordered a genocide and is directly responsible for<br />

most of what happens in the game. Throughout the<br />

game we hear stories from various sources, people<br />

who have been directly wronged by Odin, and we<br />

are given a look into a side of Norse Myth that we<br />

haven’t really experienced before. This is in contrast<br />

to most of the mythology where he is portrayed<br />

as well intentioned though flawed at times, in his<br />

efforts to prevent Ragnarok.<br />

Tyr is also not featured in this<br />

game. But you see a whole bunch<br />

of stuff that he created, and he is<br />

portrayed as a heroic figure in<br />

contrast to Odin’s villainy.<br />

Throughout the game you learn<br />

more about Tyr and his quest for<br />

peace between the realms and<br />

eventually make your way to a<br />

place very important to him. In<br />

the mythology, there isn’t a lot<br />

about him. The main legend in<br />

which he is featured results in<br />

him getting his arm bitten off by<br />

a wolf that will eventually kill Odin<br />

in Ragnarok.<br />

The reasons why are complicated<br />

and are revealed throughout the game but rest<br />

assured whatever you might have read in the<br />

mythologies, this game puts a twist on all of it when<br />

it comes to Mimir.<br />

Quite possibly the most important mythological<br />

character in God of War, and the biggest change<br />

between the legends and the game, is The World<br />

Serpent himself. Jormangandr spends the game<br />

being in multiple locations because of his size and<br />

helping Kratos and Atreus with various parts of their<br />

quest. This is huge departure from the mythology<br />

where they are the one who poisons the seas and<br />

the earth during Ragnarok. A nice snake they were<br />

not.<br />

One of the most heavily featured<br />

characters you encounter in God<br />

of War, and one of my favourites,<br />

is the traditional Aesir God Mimir.<br />

Only in this game he’s not a God,<br />

more an old school ‘fae’ creature<br />

with a charming Scottish accent<br />

who asks you to decapitate him.

There are a lot more references to Norse<br />

Mythology in these games, but talking about<br />

them here would spoil more than I already have,<br />

and ruin some of the best moments of the game.<br />

There are some appearances by Gods and giants<br />

I haven’t mentioned here, some of them very<br />

surprising.<br />

While God of War is a worthwhile experience<br />

not only because of the fulfilling gameplay and<br />

the interpersonal relationships it is also and<br />

interesting look into a type of story we haven’t<br />

really seen in the context of Norse Mythology. The<br />

reframing of the traditional villains of the legends<br />

into allies alongside the interpretations of the<br />

Aesir as uncaring conquerors who perpetrated<br />

a genocide makes this game an unorthodox and<br />

highly unique story. One I hope Santa Monica<br />

Studios continue in the future.<br />

Written by Shaun Stoddard. Look for more<br />

of his work at https://www.facebook.com/<br />


Ask staff for details.<br />



AT<br />


RADERS<br />


Get it all at Gametraders! Order in-store.


It has been five years since the defeat of the<br />

reincarnation of King Piccolo at the 23rd World<br />

Martial Arts Tournament. His arch rival, Goku,<br />

is about to learn of his heritage in the most<br />

devastating way, but what if the story took<br />

another direction?<br />

of Vegeta and Nappa, and the pending<br />

re-emergence of Raditz. In the meantime<br />

Vegeta chides Raditz for his failure and<br />

ostracises him. With nowhere to turn<br />

Raditz joins the Z fighters and a new story<br />

begins.<br />

It begins the same way as it does in the<br />

beginning of Dragonball Z. Raditz arrives and tells<br />

Goku about his Saiyan heritage, along with the<br />

fact that they are brothers. He expresses<br />

his disgust at the fact that planet Earth is still<br />

populated and orders Goku to kill 100 people<br />

and deliver their bodies to Master Roshi’s island.<br />

For insurance he kidnaps Gohan and there’s<br />

nothing that Goku can do to stop him.<br />

Piccolo arrives on the scene, having encountered<br />

Raditz a little earlier, the rivals form a temporary<br />

alliance and head out to defeat the Saiyan<br />

warrior. The battle plays out a little differently in<br />

this version of the story. Gohan head butts Raditz<br />

in the chest but it does more damage than in the<br />

original Dragonball Z story. Goku grabs Raditz<br />

from behind and orders Piccolo to power up his<br />

special beam cannon. Piccolo is about to fire but<br />

Raditz shifts at the last second, leaving Goku the<br />

only recipient of the blast.<br />

In the aftermath of the attack Raditz escapes,<br />

leaving everyone in shock over Goku’s death.<br />

Piccolo decides to train Gohan for both the arrival<br />

This is the premise for the Dragonball<br />

“what if” scenario, ‘What if Raditz<br />

turned good?’ Developed by Masako<br />

X, Goku from the YouTube parody<br />

series Dragonball Z Abridged, and<br />

his co-writer Haverok, the story<br />

has become a fan favourite for<br />

people who visit the Masako X<br />

YouTube Channel. So much so that it<br />

has now been developed into a web<br />

comic, complete with accompanying<br />

voice cast.

I don’t want to give too much of the<br />

story away, but the series centres<br />

on Raditz and his daughter Ranch. In<br />

this alternative storyline Raditz and<br />

Launch (remember her from the original<br />

Dragonball?) settle down together and<br />

have a family. Ranch provides a different<br />

dynamic to the Trunks and Goten<br />

bromance seen during the latter part of<br />

Z and Dragon Ball Super.<br />

By Paul Monopoli<br />

At the time of writing this the first episode<br />

is available on YouTube, so check it out<br />

over on the Masako X channel:<br />

www.youtube.com/MasakoXtreme<br />

And the Twitter pages of Masako X and<br />

Haverock:<br />

www.twitter.com/MasakoX<br />


THE CAST<br />

RADITZ<br />

Voiced By<br />

Kevin Aghani<br />

“Not every<br />

battle is played<br />

by the rules,<br />

you should<br />

be prepared<br />

for that<br />

eventuality.”<br />

LAUNCH<br />

Voiced By<br />

Amanda Hufford<br />

“I know you’ll be fine but...<br />

I’m just... Saiyan.”<br />

RANCH<br />

Voiced By<br />




GOKU<br />

Voiced By<br />


“A TEST OF<br />


COUNT ME IN!”<br />

GOTEN<br />

Voiced By<br />





HIS OWN!”<br />

VEGETA<br />

Voiced By<br />



EH? I’M<br />


BULMA<br />

Voiced By<br />





SHOPPING.”<br />

TRUNKS<br />

Voiced By<br />




FUSION!”<br />

Check out some of the artists working on this Series: Casual misfit studios (https://twitter.com/LegionCMStudios).<br />

Malik Torihane (https://twitter.com/MALIK_DBNA) & Nexus mania (https://twitter.com/NexusMania).

THE DO’s AND DO<br />


Non-prescription lenses, known more commonly<br />

as cosmetic or novelty contact lenses, are those<br />

aimed to change appearance. In cosplay, these are<br />

sometimes essential to creating the correct look<br />

for your character and are a commonly used part of<br />

the make-up process.<br />

Unsurprisingly placing something foreign into your<br />

body comes with a set of dangers, particularly<br />

since Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration<br />

does not regulate cosmetic contact lenses.<br />

Before you purchase your first set of contact<br />

lenses, have a professional optometrist to have<br />

an eye examination. They can identify any preexisting<br />

conditions that could increase the<br />

likelihood of cosmetic lenses damaging your eyes.<br />

You can also purchase cosmetic lenses through<br />

your optometrist, which is the safest option for<br />

purchasing cosmetic lenses as they are from<br />

verified brands and products. Optometrists can also<br />

train you on correct handling and storage of lenses.<br />

Most cosplayers however choose to purchase<br />

through international sellers. International sellers<br />

can be good, but they do not follow the same<br />

standards of hygiene and care provided by<br />

Australian sellers, so extra care must be taken.

NT’S OF<br />

CARE<br />

Cosplay by<br />

Anny Sims (Ichigo Momomiya)<br />

https://www.facebook.com/ChattyAnny/?fref=mentions<br />

Photography by<br />

Dark Age Photography<br />


Cosplay by: Anny Sims (Female Loki)<br />

https://www.facebook.com/ChattyAnny/?fref=mentions<br />

Photography by: SFX IMAGES<br />

https://www.facebook.com/SFXImages/<br />

- DO NOT under any circumstances keep<br />

lenses in if your eyes are hurting or stinging.<br />

Incorrect usage of contact lenses can cause<br />

cornea damage, eye infections, and eventual<br />

blindness. You do not get another set of eyes,<br />

and it’s not worth going blind solely to look<br />

pretty for one day.<br />

- Do not swap lenses between wearers,<br />

wear lenses longer than recommended, use<br />

inappropriate contact care solutions, let<br />

lenses dry out, place lenses in unsterilised<br />

contact cases, or continue to use lenses past<br />

their expiry date. All these options increase<br />

risks of eye infection and overall damage to<br />

the eye upon wearing.<br />

- Always insert your contact lenses on a<br />

clean, make-up-less face and clean, sterilised<br />

hands or tools. Whenever you wear contact<br />

lenses, please make sure you carry contact<br />

solution for sterilising hands and tools, and a<br />

clean case. Do not ever re-insert lenses that<br />

are single use, have passed expiry or have<br />

been in an unsterilised environment.<br />

Overall, contact lenses can be a fun and<br />

wonderful way to alter your appearance and<br />

add to your cosplay; but nothing is worth<br />

losing your eyesight over. Please be careful<br />

and listen to professional advice, and you<br />

should have a safe and fun time with your<br />

lenses.<br />

By Anny Sims

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Ingle Farm...............................................(08) 8265 7283<br />

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For more info visit:<br />

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Chermside...............................................(07) 3861 5000<br />

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